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What Should I Wear To A Job Interview?

If you’re reading this then congratulations must be in order, because you’ve probably got a job interview lined up!  You’ve almost certainly jumped a number of hurdles to get this far, but with a face-to-face encounter looming you have to make sure you don’t fall at the last fence – and that means making sure you get your interview outfit just right.

Even before the handshake, your clothes have already given your interviewer a first impression which stick despite your glittering CV and thoughtful responses.  The trick with interviews is that you want to be memorable, but for all the right reasons.

Get your interview outfit wrong and you will forever be remembered as ‘the man in the meerkat tie’ or ‘the woman with the crazy earrings’.  Get your outfit right and they’ll know they’re onto a winner.

Dressing to Impress

So what are the basic rules of thumb when it comes to dressing for an interview?  Here’s a quick run-down of dos and don’ts:

  •         Do keep it plain – Avoiding loud patterns and keeping things simple is sound advice whatever role you’re interviewing for.
  •         Do run an iron over it – Looking creased is bad news. Make sure your blouse or shirt is pressed and your jacket and trousers aren’t crumpled from the wardrobe.
  •         Do wear comfy shoes – While relevant for everyone this piece of advice is particularly true for female candidates considering wearing heels.  Opt for something tried and tested rather than hobbling in with ill-judged footwear.
  •         Don’t be too ‘unusual’ – Steer clear of chunky, loud jewellery, wild ties or ‘gimmicky’ cufflinks that announce you as ‘unprofessional’.
  •         Don’t go for eye-popping colours – Keep the bright orange shirt in the wardrobe; garish colours make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.
  •         Don’t be too revealing – This goes for men and women.  You don’t have to be buttoned into a stranglehold, but nor do you want to show too much.

Sometimes Less is More

In the modern workplace the old adage that ‘you can never be overdressed’ simply doesn’t hold water.  Key to getting your interview outfit right is making sure you fit in with your prospective company’s culture and ethos.  There’s no point wearing a buttoned up shirt with tie and matching handkerchief if you’re going for an interview with a trendy tech startup or a sports clothing manufacturer – you’ll simply stick out like a sore thumb.

Saying that, while there are some very laid-back young companies where beanbags and afternoon naps are popular even these companies will expect a level of professionalism at the interview stage. As a guiding principle you should try to be just that fraction better dressed than they and the staff around you are, to show you’re serious about wanting the job.  Save the ‘quirky’ dressing until you have your knees well and truly under the table.

Whatever you choose to wear it should be something you feel confident in, because not worrying about your outfit frees you up to concentrate on the important thing – giving brilliant answers and landing that perfect job.

Feeling confident should extend to your salary negotiations as well, and the best way to feel confident is to know how much your skills are worth. Try ValueMyCV today to find out what your new employer should be paying you.