So you’ve managed to wrangle yourself a few job interviews that offer promising futures! Knowing that these interviews could mark the start of your career, you want to make a great impression and show your potential employers just how valuable to their organization you can be. First interviews can be so daunting–it’s easy to overthink every bit of your resume, as well as your appearance.
Several studies worldwide have revealed that a candidate’s success at an interview is strongly influenced by their grooming preferences (and largely their style of dressing). How one chooses to dress during an interview determines not only an individual’s attitude towards life but also towards the company he wants to enter, because truth be told, appearances do go a long way in building or breaking relationships – professional and personal. A great resume might make a good impression in theory, but a quintessential sense of style makes you not just seem, but look the part. Looking good during an interview says “I am confident, motivated, comfortable with myself and raring to take on any challenge through successful completion. I am your man!”
Here are five easy things you can think of when creating your interview outfit, that will help you make a good impression, even if you have little to no time to prepare your look.
Get some insight on the workplace dress code and dress a level higher. For example, if it’s a company that encourages flip-flops, shorts, jeans and generally casual attire, then go business casual, maybe a sports coat and smart trousers. If people wear slacks, you can walk in with a suit and tie. Typically, the industry should say it all. Financial sector, legal, consulting are defined by conservative power suits; sales, education, retail, small companies, IT, engineering, real estate – business casual; fashion, entertainment, digital, music, advertising – smart casual. If you’re unsure if it’s business casual or business formal, go for a neutral blazer and coordinating neutral pants. You’re safe!
The colors of your clothes can say a lot about how you treat the work environment. While it may be easy to go for a black suit, these can look quite dated. Instead, you can go for a suit that is business-appropriate, such as a gray suit or even a navy one, as these will make you look younger and more dynamic.
While a white shirt is a safe bet, you can also go for something in a different color. Make sure the color of your shirt flatters your skin tone and is well integrated in the overall color scheme of your outfit and you are set to go. Neutrals such as black, gray, brown, navy, etc. do go with anything. If you want to add a touch of color to a conservative outfit, the best way to do is probably by putting on a nice tie. Choose a tie that you like and you are ready to go.
Tailor-made shirts leave an everlasting impression, provided the quality, fabric and style are chosen well. Times have changed, off-the-rack shirts, one-size-fits-all are passé. Today, wearing custom shirts, which you can also find online is a great way to make a very strong impression by adding personalized and interesting details to your look. Custom tailoring allows you to create great and highly original clothes that will look impeccably on you, since they are made in your exact size.
Of course, it may take a bit until you get your clothes done by a tailor or from an online service, but it is worth it.
Accessorize right, accessorize light
When it comes to accessories, simplicity is always the best answer during job interviews. Remember that your accessories should be proportionate to your body size (meaning larger men should wear wide ties, bigger watches and larger belts, while men with smaller frames can opt for slim times, skinny belts and small watches).
Also, while metallics can be mixed (yes, gold and silver do go together), it’s best to keep just one metal showing. In terms of colors, corporate, darker shades will work best: blue, maroon, red, burgundy and, of course, chocolate. While watches, cufflinks, ties and belts are most welcome, we recommend that you don’t over-accessorize and also wear lots of chains and bracelets.
Shoes and socks
For a safe bet, go for classic, timeless shoe styles. Round toe, leather shoes are your best bet. Remember that in corporate environments, the “belt should match your shoes rule” does apply, so it might be a good idea to follow it.
When it comes to socks, black might be your best option, but other neutrals such as gray or navy work too. Colorful socks are also a nice touch, but they are quite risky. Of course, in some settings they may be an advantage.
A job interview is a very serious occasion that should be treated as such. You want to convey a message about who you are and what you do, but not lose yourself in it. While sticking to strong rules, make sure that you choose items that communicate to the person sitting across the desk who you are and what you are about: you can do it by choosing colors you like, patterns or details such as engraved cufflinks.
In the end, you should put your best foot forward, but also make sure you convey an image that is true, you want the company to get a sense of who you really are and not regret hiring you later.
Interviews are all about confidence in your ability to do the job you are applying for and your outfit has a lot to do with the way you feel about yourself.