What should you wear to your next interview? Dressing for interview success is a tricky one for candidates. Getting it right can make all the difference to making the best first impression. So, to help you do just that, we’ve consulted friend of B2E Consulting, Caroline Tweddle, a professional image consultant. Here are 5 tips to help you look the part for your next job interview!
1. Culture Club
This is more of a guiding thought, and one to use to contextualise the points that come next. Do your research on the company you’re interviewing for. Are they casual or smart? If you show up wearing a suit to a trendy tech startup where everyday is dress down Fridays, then it’s immediately clear that you don’t ‘get’ the company and its culture. Likewise, jeans and a t-shirt for a managerial interview at an established fin-tech company won’t do you any favours. So, match your attire to the workplace you’re interviewing for.
2. Colour Coding
The colours you pick will shape how the hiring manager sees you. Dark colours come across as more authoritative, whereas lighter colours are considered to be more approachable. Wearing a light blue shirt or blouse with a black jacket is a good combination.
Your initial impression is professional thanks to the black jacket, but after handshakes and formalities are done, and you sit down for the interview itself, take off your jacket. The lighter coloured top will help to break the ice and foster a friendlier impression, creating a better atmosphere for conversation.
When picking your colour combination, consider the 75% — 25% rule. This means opt for 75% neutral or darker colours and 25% lighter colours.
3.Plain Works Best
That distinctive patterned top you want to wear? Leave it at home. Anything floral, patterned, or eye catching is best to avoid, as it will only distract the interviewer. You want them to focus on you, not the clothes you’re wearing. So, avoid anything too bright or definitive. Instead, opt for conservative clothing choices.
This means, unless you’re applying for a job in the fashion industry, don’t wear anything too trendy either. Often, interviewers are looking for signs you’ll fit into their workplace, so any clothing that stands out too much means you’re less likely to slot into their culture.
This is true of the shoes you choose to wear. Trainers are not the best choice. Instead, select a pair of plain shoes that aren’t especially noticeable. Make sure they’re in a good state of repair, polished, and if you’re wearing a belt, match the shoes to the colour of the belt.
4. Describe Yourself in Three Words
When picking out your outfit for your next job interview, take a moment to define the impression you want to give. Use three words to describe how you want to come across and use them to review your clothing choices. This works especially well if you match these three words to the values of the company you’re interviewing for.
By doing so, you’ll find it much easier to pick out a relevant outfit that enables you to make the very best first impression. Keep in mind, though, that you should always feel comfortable in the clothes you select. So, if you end up with a collection of clothes that don’t sit quite right with who you are, go back to the drawing board. Confidence sells. If you’re constantly readjusting your clothing during the interview, then hiring managers will quickly note you’re uncomfortable and this will have a negative impact on their opinion of your suitability for the role.
5. Some Housekeeping Rules
To round it all up then, once you’ve selected an outfit you’re comfortable in, that matches the culture of the place you’re interviewing for, and that conveys the best impression, take a step back. Try on the outfit and assess yourself in a full-length mirror. Does the outfit work? Do you feel confident and comfortable in it? Be honest here and evaluate your clothing choices as critically as possible. Does everything fit correctly, and are the colours matched well? Once you’re happy with your appearance, make sure there’s enough time for all the admin stuff: ironing, dry cleaning, and polishing up shoes.
Now you’re happy with the outfit, the last piece of advice: return to those three words you picked. Have you met the ‘brief’? If so, you’re good to go. So, dress up, suit up, and look the part. You can now focus on the actual interview, the questions, and the answers!
Of course, what you wear to an interview shouldn’t matter as much as what’s on your CV. But it does. First impressions count and the best impression is one you control. So, shape how you want to be defined and use the above advice, with big thanks to Caroline Tweddle, to help you land that job!