From our early career beginnings, we have been told time and time again that first impressions count. That first impression may not guarantee you the job of your dreams but how you present yourself, what you say and do will ultimately determine the flow and potential outcome of this daunting process. So as soon as you step into the room, portfolio in hand and ready to showcase your talents, getting the basics is vital to making a lasting positive impression on your future boss.
The world of employment has changed significantly and while a formal suit is a key interview staple, mixing it up a little creates a smart yet interesting twist on the basics. Every part of your outfit should be carefully considered, you don’t want any wardrobe mishaps on the outset and yes shoes and accessories count too. Choosing the perfect interview outfit will also help you feel at ease, giving you the confidence to concentrate on selling your craft rather than worry about a wardrobe mishap moment.
Interview attire doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring. While you carefully consider the first impression you make, dressing for the job gives you a little freedom to work a creative and individual element into your outfit, which will give you confidence and personality to complement your talents. Here are some top tips on preparing for an interview and dressing for success.
Whatever job you’re applying for, looking smart, polished and professional should underpin the structure of your attire. Preparing in advance also gives you a chance to see how comfortable you’re going to feel in your clothing. There’s nothing worse than scrambling around trying to find your suit jacket to realize it doesn’t fit anymore! Preparation is key.
While some positions may not require formal dress during office hours, turning up in your jeans to an interview is a big no. Despite a company’s dress code policy, it is rarely appropriate to dress down when attending an interview. If there is any confusion, opt for a conservative approach and stick to a smart suit. Now, this may seem like a part of everyday life but taking the time to iron your clothing is a simple yet effective way to make your attire look presentable. You’ll be surprised the number of people that attend interviews with crinkled clothing that looks like it has been sat in a drawer for a while.
Experimenting with color
For many interviews opting for a conservative color palette is a good idea to keep a professional appearance. However, this doesn’t mean you should keep clear of adding color to your attire. Mixing in an element of personality can work well on first impressions so choosing a complementary shade offers a little interest to your outfit. If you’re wearing a dress, opt for tones of deep red or perhaps muted turquoise but avoid vibrant shades that overpower. Bright colors can add versatility to your look but opt for this on subtle jewelry to avoid your attire consuming the attention of the interviewer.
You don’t have to stick to a traditional white cotton shirt either. Experiment with different tones and light colors for examples pastel shades for an interesting yet tasteful style addition. Other fabrics can work well too; perhaps try chiffon as a lighter fabric against your suit.
Hemlines and necklines
Hemlines and necklines should preferably be at a modest length. If you’re wearing a skirt to an interview, go for the conservative approach and just above the knee is also fine too but just be wary of a skirt with slits, as these can be tricky to sit in depending on its placement on the skirt. Considering both these factors helps you feel confident and comfortable during an interview. Feeling comfortable is essential in order for you to be able to be confident throughout the interview, as opposed to worrying about what you look like and how that comes across to the interviewer. Self-consciousness can be a noticeable trait and may stop you from performing at your best on the day.
Another essential feature in your whole look is the way you dress your hair. You might not this is a huge factor but having clean and fresh hair is noticeable to many people. Getting the balance right between hair, makeup and clothing help you create the perfect impression and as your face and head are one of the first things people look at, having great hair works wonders in an interview situation. There are many ways in which you can style your locks to suit the job you are going for. Pretty ponytails can look just as polished as wearing it down, as taming any frizz can help you look smart and sophisticated. Loose curls are another favorite and add some interest to your look without overdoing it. If you have shorter hair, keeping it simple can work perfectly when trying to impress. Sleek, pinned back bobs or tamed crop styles look chic and elegant against a smart suit. Don’t forget that embracing your natural hair is also fine too especially if the interview is more informal, as this shows you are comfortable with yourself and may feel more in control in interview conditions.
Unless you’re going for a makeup artist’s position, then showcasing how much knowledge or application of makeup you know should possibly be left to special occasions. Choosing makeup that is natural and a shade close to your skin tone will help to create a sophisticated look that doesn’t look like your overdoing it. Muted tones of eyeshadow and lips are often favored, as vibrant colors tend to overpower your look. As your interviewer will be looking into your eyes, avoiding clumpy mascara is also a good way to avoid making the wrong impression. If you’re also prone to blushing, then try not to use a blush that will bring out your cheeks in a rosier shade than necessary. Try green tinted primer, as this will help to reduce redness. Less is indeed more when it comes to makeup at an interview and preventing that just left a party style will undoubtedly set you up for a more responsive experience.
Accessorizing your interview outfit
It’s preferable to keep accessories to a minimum when planning your interview outfit. Subtle jewelry creates understated highlights to your attire, and clean, smart shoes keep your look refined and professional. Another vital factor to consider is your briefcase or handbag. Investing in a chic yet sophisticated bag offers you a versatile accessory that can be used time and time again. Consider opting for a statement designer handbag that provides enough space for your paperwork and essentials; shop around for pre-owned examples that are still in excellent condition. Choosing a designer piece doesn’t have to break the bank, and you’ll have something that can be styled with several outfits including your interview. If you’re looking to add pretty touches, then accessories such as this scarf are ideal for creating a personal touch to your attire.
There’s nothing worse than wearing something that instantly makes you feel uncomfortable. Choosing an outfit that makes you feel good and look good is a delicate balance but getting it right could mean a confident and strong interview. Avoiding clothing that is too tight will ensure you can sit down without worrying about splits or having to breathe in the whole time while ensuring your blouse isn’t too low cut will help you avoid feeling conscious that you have too much skin on show. Shoes that are high or tight are also one of the most uncomfortable elements to an outfit and can affect the way you walk into your interview. They can also cause painful blisters or sores, which can knock your confidence before you’ve even begun. Wearing clothing that doesn’t make you feel generally distracted during the process is key to interviewing well, as you won’t need to concentrate on anything other than selling your skills and talents.
A good way to avoid any unnecessary stress, be sure to try on any interview clothing you are planning on wearing, as you may not have worn them for a while and they may not fit properly. Both too large or too small clothing will be evident on interview day and can make you appear unprepared or not bothered about getting the job. Making an effort with your clothing is the first impression of how much you take the interview seriously and whether you are enthusiastic about getting the position.
A few extra tips…
- Try to keep makeup subtle and in natural tones.
- Make sure clothing is clean and well ironed.
- Be sure to have clean hair and a well-groomed appearance.
- We all like to smell nice but avoid strong perfumes and spraying on excessive amounts before the interview.
- Dependent on the job, covering tattoos, piercings, and body modifications may be a prerequisite for the job.
Remember to relax and plan ahead, so you don’t have unnecessary stress on the interview day. Good luck!