A simple fact of life is that we made immediate decisions on people we meet based on our first impression. Interviewers are no different and on many occasions I have made an immediate judgement based on the way a candidate has presented himself or herself for interview.
A negative first impression of a candidate can colour an interview and can influence the outcome irrespective of the interview itself.
Do yourself a favour and give yourself every opportunity to make a good first impression. In order to promote yourself as a serious candidate you must present yourself at interview in a professional manner. Turning up for interview looking unprofessional and untidy will be a serious impediment to your aspirations for your job search.
Clearly it is a sign to the interviewer that you are not taking the interview seriously, which in itself is disrespectful. Secondly it is apparent that you don’t take yourself too seriously and this too makes it difficult for the interviewer to respect you.
Choose your attire accordingly and present yourself impeccably groomed, looking neat and professional. It will enhance your image before an interviewer and give you additional confidence as you prepare to answer some tough interview questions.
When we look good we feel good and indeed appropriate dress will heighten your sense of self-esteem as you prepare to enter your interview.
While your clothes will not guarantee you get the job they can guarantee that you don’t.
The following are tips that will help you dress for that all-important interview:
- Suits should be worn in colours of navy, dark blue, dark to light grey.
- Do not wear a black suit; it is too sombre and severe.
- Long sleeved shirts should always be worn.
- Shirts should be white or cream or a subtle shade of blue.
- Shirts should be ironed and crease free.
- A silk tie is preferable as it ties neater and has a better finish.
- Your tie should complement your shirt and your suit.
- Ties should be conservative or more preferably plain.
- Wearing a busy tie with icons or pictures can prove distracting.
- Shoes should be black leather preferably, brown is also acceptable.
- They should be pristine and polished.
- Suits should be well tailored and stylish.
- Preferred colours are Grey, Light Grey, Black, Dark Blue and Navy.
- A shift dress with matching jacket is also a good choice versus the traditional suit.
- A conservative hemline, preferably knee length is desirable.
- Blouses should be made of cotton or silk preferably and should be long sleeved.
- Soft colours are preferable, white, cream, lemon or pale blue.
- Take care with the accessories; do not ruin a smart suit with a gaudy brooch or a poor quality scarf.
- The colour of your shoes should match your clothes.
- Shoes should be made of leather, pristine and polished.
- Shoes can be black, navy, brown or wine.
- A classic court shoe with a medium sized heel is preferable.
- Stockings or Tights should be a neutral colour. (Remember to always keep a spare pair with you to cover emergencies.
- Jewellery should be subtle. Wear a minimum of well-chosen jewellery that reflects good taste.
- Ensure that your bag is good quality leather, clean and polished and matching your shoes.
- Make-up should be subtle and natural. In this case less is more.
As you have seen from the above list a professional but understated look is best.
Personal hygiene is an important point. Interviews can lead to emotional sweats and it is extremely important that you project a pristine image.
Pay particular attention to your fingernails, breath and hair. One of the most terrible scenarios for an interview is to attempt to conduct an interview made even more difficult due to poor personal hygiene.
Remember that it is not just a cliché. First impressions really do count and there isn’t the time at interview to redeem yourself if you have created a negative impression initially.