How to Dress For a Job Interview
Just as you dress up your skills on your CV, you also dress up your personality with your attire. Actually, you can dress up as anyone but of course your actual charisma has to match. In job interviews, it is of great importance to think thoroughly about what to wear because it will tell a lot about you.
First thing the recruiter will notice when you show up is your clothes. When choosing what to wear you should be aware of the fact that they are likely to form an opinion on you from the moment you meet; before you even have a chance to open your mouth.
The Crucial First Impression
There is hardly any need to introduce the importance of first impressions, yet as a reminder for those who tend to forget. It can easily make or break your chances of being hired, to put it straight. The first impression you make sets the tone of the preceding outcome.
Many people feel uneasy when meeting a stranger. This can drive recruiters to make up their mind about candidates within a few seconds. Uncertainty is something humans try to eliminate as quickly as possible, it is in our nature. There are of course several factors that influence the recruiter but how you dress is one of the biggest ones.
Sometimes, recruiters also need ways to reduce the number of candidates because there are too many seeking the same position. By failing to dress appropriately for the job interview, you are likely to be giving the recruiter the reason they need to exclude you from being considered.
When you enter a job interview you better make everything count because you won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. The recruiter is not only forming an opinion about you within the first seconds, what’s more is they might also be making a hasty decision of whether to hire you or not.
What is Appropriate Attire
Dressing appropriately is something you can not take for granted. Perhaps this sounds obvious, but nonetheless too many people fail dressing appropriately, roughly 20% of all job seekers.
Keep things simple; inappropriate clothing for job interviews would be overdressing for a position in an industrial plant or being too casually dressed for a more prestigious position at a law firm. You should try to find the balance and dress to fit in.
Companies are as different as they are many, so there is no actual formulation on what is the most appropriate attire. The level of formality, for example, varies a lot both between industries as well as companies within the same industry.
Mind Your Choice of Clothing
The general rule is that you should never “dress down”. In any case, the safe bet is to be more formal than not.
To be sure, you could carry out a little research about the company’s culture and learn it’s dress code policy. You should then show up for the interview dressed one level higher. Even though their employees dress casually, you shouldn't because you are not one of them. Not yet.
Less is more, so to speak. Keep in mind that simple and classic style is always better than trendy and fashionable styles. Also keep all accessories to a minimum, such as jewellery, perfume and makeup. By complicating your outfit, you risk distracting the recruiter, not in your favour.
It should be easy to follow a dress code but it is not always clear what the code is. However, feeling confident wearing the outfit you choose is just as important as choosing what to wear.
Confidence is Key
In order for you to be on your A game during job interviews, a good dose of confidence is what you need. Those who are confident are much more likely to perform better in job interviews, hence outperform other candidates.
In our context, confident is all about self esteem and it will greatly reflect on what outfit you wear each time. The better you feel about yourself, the more confidence you will have. Wearing clothes that make you feel confident on the inside will also make you confident on the outside, and other people will notice.
The power of clothing is great because you can easily dress up differently depending on occasion and choose which version of yourself to be each time.
To sum things up, the focus should be on finding the appropriate attire for each occasion so you can fit in wherever you go. Remember to be more formal than not and keep complex accessories away from your chosen outfit. Above all, wear clothes that will make your confidence bloom. The following infographic by Market Inspector covers some more useful suggestions and tips about how to dress for your upcoming job interview.
Kristofer Pall Lentz is a business marketing enthusiast, currently working for Market Inspector, a B2B marketplace for businesses and institutions in Europe. He is also taking his master's degree in Strategic Market Creation at Copenhagen Business School.