There are only a few occasions where making a positive first impression is more important than at a job interview. All it takes is one-tenth of a second to make a judgment of a person and those initial impressions play a more important decision in the hiring process than one would think. Your appearance not only shows that you are serious about the opportunity, but that you are eager and you’ve done your due diligence to understand the culture of the office.
A well-tailored suit or dress speaks volumes and can give the impression you are detail-oriented and thorough. A brighter color or patterned garment can suggest confidence and help you stand out among a sea of candidates, but be careful that it's not too distracting.
Dressing for the big interview can be intimidating and a challenge, but follow these guidelines to make the process less daunting:
Don’t know what to wear?
Do your research! Get insight on the company’s culture for an idea of the environment before stepping into your interview. Even though many organizations are adopting a casual dress code, don’t let this fool you, dress to impress. If you strike out with research, utilize your resources and reach out to people within your professional network for their insight and advice.
It’s worth it to invest.
A comfortable outfit and shoes are key! If you are constantly readjusting your outfit, it’s distracting to both you and the interviewer. The key is to find an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable, allowing you to focus on selling your experience and skills. It’s well worth it to invest in one well-tailored suit or dress that makes you feel your best. This is an investment in your future and something you can rely on for all interview opportunities. As a side note for the gentlemen, you can't hide your socks, so it's wise to invest in a few pairs of dress socks.
Test-drive your interview outfit.
Just as you would rehearse answers to potential interview questions, be sure to do a dry run of your outfit. It will save you time the morning of your interview and will guarantee that nothing is out of place. Test-drive your outfit by sitting on a chair, couch, stool, and bench. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Pay attention to your posture, body language, and overall grooming.
In addition to dazzling your future colleagues with impressive attire, keep in mind that posture, body language and overall grooming (hair, nails, facial hair) can be equally as important in setting the tone of the interview. 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of your voice, and 7% is the actual spoken words. When it comes to your signature scent, play it safe. If it's overpowering or not favorable to others, this can be distracting to the interviewer and a huge turn off.
There are a lot of little details to be cognizant of when it comes to the interview process, but most importantly, don't loose sight of yourself. Yes, appearance is an important part of this process, but it's not everything. Follow these guidelines to mitigate pre-interview jitters and fashion frustration, but in the end it's your professional experience and industry knowledge that gets you into the seat.