Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dress for Interview Success

Appearance counts, especially at a job interview.  Your interviewer and people at the company will be judging you by your answers to questions, and also by how you’re put together. That includes what you’re wearing and what you carry with you.  Here are some tips to ensure you’re presenting yourself in a manner that helps you get the job.

1. Wear a suit.  You may think it’s old-fashioned, but wearing a suit to a first interview is a sign of respect.  It’s better to wear a suit and be slightly overdressed than not wear a suit and risk not getting the job because of it.

2. Mind the shoes.  You can be wearing a great suit, but it won’t matter if your shoes are scuffed, clunky, or don’t match.  Details matter in creating a polished, put-together appearance.  Make sure your shoes are clean, polished, and match your suit.

3. Balance trendy and traditional.  The interview isn’t the time to wear your “fashion-forward” purple striped suit.  While it’s important to express your personality, it’s also important to rein in the extreme.  You can’t go wrong with a dark suit.  You can always show your personality through a pop of color in a necklace or scarf.  Likewise, a fun but smaller earring is more appropriate than a long feather earring that hangs down to your shoulder.  This isn’t a case where you want to go for shock-value.  Employers are slightly risk-adverse these days and you want to ease their minds by presenting yourself as a safe bet.

4. Be wrinkle-free.  It shows polish and attention to detail.  Take the time the day before the interview to look over your suit, shirt, shoes, and bag, ensuring everything is ready to go and ironing or polishing if necessary.  The day of the interview you’ll feel calmer and less rushed.

5. Consider the company.  Before an interview, it’s extremely important to research the company to understand its culture.  A company’s culture could have some bearing on how you dress for the interview.  You’ll need to wear a suit regardless, but it can’t hurt to customize your look ever so slightly with that particular company in mind.  Think colors and level of formality.

What do you normally wear to an interview?

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