What To Wear For A Job Interview (And Mistakes You Should Avoid)

There have been so many articles written about what to wear for a job interview and everyone knows that they should wear “interview appropriate” professional looking clothes. But what exactly does it mean?

It’s extremely important to remember that “interview-appropriate” will have different meanings at different companies. This is where so many people go wrong. Many of us have this image that professional attire includes a sleek all-black suit, white shirt and high-heels. We have heard so many times that anything too bright, colourful or fashion-forward is a big “no-no”.

So what exactly should you wear to increase your chances of securing the job interview?

Dress The Part

Now imagine that you are being interviewed at a trendy start-up. And you show up in an all-black suit and your favourite pair of heels while employees at that company are wearing natural colourful clothing and sandals. What will be their first impression of you? It’s fair to say that you would look like you just simply don’t belong there. While you can be qualified for the position you are not going to be a perfect fit for the company’s culture.

Everyone understands that showing up in jeans and trainers will never be acceptable at a law firm. So why would you assume that wearing corporate attire will be appropriate in a start-up? Which of course is one of the biggest mistakes you can make while dressing for a job interview – not dressing the part.

Consider The Company Culture

When it comes to dressing for your interview, it’s all about the fit (and no, this time we are not talking about the right fit for your body shape). If you don’t ‘fit in’, in terms of how you dress, you’ll feel out of place and uncomfortable. And potentially give off the wrong vibe.

It is very important to understand the dress code of a company you are applying for. Learn about the work setting, premises and office style that your perspective company abides by. The company you are about to be interviewed for may have been keeping their traditions for centuries. With respective attributes; conservative dress code, tables of redwood, chairs of expensive leather. This can be the case in consulting, banking, financial services and other industries that highly depend on reputation.

Being interviewed at Google differs from being interviewed at Morgan Stanley. Dressing to fit your profession or industry goes a long way toward making you feel like you belong. Not only with the team but also with that particular corporate culture.

Tell Your Story

Your wardrobe tells its own storyYou’ve been selected for an interview based on your skills and experience. How you dress and present yourself can convey a great deal about your perceived character, values, work ethic and viability as a future employee.

Before choosing your interview outfit, take some time to consider what story you want to tell – If you want to:

  • showcase your professionalism, opt for a sophisticated and sharp suit, or shirt and jacket
  • communicate your creativity, select one bold or brightly hued statement piece, such as a tie or necklace
  • convey reliability, choose more subdued colours

Your interview is an opportunity to show hiring managers that you’re perfect for the role. Maintaining proper appearance will ensure they can see themselves working with you.

Do your research, learn as much about the company as you can ahead of time, and dress accordingly. If appropriate, ask the recruiter or hiring manager what they believe is the most suitable attire. Remember, there’s never harm in asking if you’re unsure.

Evelina Vilkaite

Evelina is a millennial career coach & personal branding expert who is passionate about empowering women to become more confident and stylish. She is passionate about helping women find their dream job.

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