Dress to impress – what to wear to get the job

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Your application has been processed and you have been accepted for interview, so now the hard work starts.

We use clothing as a way to express ourselves, and what we wear is an individual choice, but when it comes to giving the right impression at interview there are some fairly strict professional norms that need be adhered to. 

We all know someone who has gaffed in an interview, whether it has been a person we know, or something seen in the media. Sometimes these gaffes are around attire, and there is no reason as to why this would be a problem.

If you are working in an office, there is a strict dress code around what is considered appropriate for interviews. This has been tried and tested over the years, and it comes down to common sense.  At no point has it ever been a good idea to go to an interview either over or under dressed.

Studies have been carried out over the years as to how long it can take for someone to gain a first impression. It is fairly obvious that there is no set amount of time, as these studies never seem to agree on how many seconds it takes. One thing that can be agreed on is that the magic number is between seven and 30 seconds.

Whatever the amount of time, it is not long, and no one wants to be remembered for the wrong reasons.

We all want to promote ourselves in the best light, so if you have one, wear a good business suit. Make sure it is well fitting and pressed. Unkempt or untidy presentation will not do you any favours at all.  If you do not own a business suit, then opt for a pair of smart trousers or skirt with a shirt. Make sure the items are clean and pressed.

Shoes must be clean and polished, and our advice is to make them sensible. Avoid skyscraper heels, as if they are pinching it shows on your face, and let’s be honest, if you do not know the layout of the building you could be walking for some time. Eight flights of stairs are not going to do you any favours, and if the worst happens you are going to end up falling over in front of a potential employer. 

When thinking about hosiery, the best advice we can give is keep your socks to muted colours. There is often the temptation to wear stand out socks to be remembered by but depending on the interviewer it may not be seen as you want it to. We advise that you don’t go barelegged if wearing a skirt, wear either nude or black hosiery.

Your clothes should always be clean and pressed, and ties must always be sensible and work appropriate. If you have the desire to wear a giant one sporting Donald Duck, or one that plays seasonal songs, don’t. The interviewer is looking for reasons to hire you for the role, and this isn’t always based on sense of humour.

Clothing is not the only aspect that you will be judged on. Body language, confidence, tone of voice and the handshake are a few other areas to be aware of. If you are dressed smartly, and know your area of expertise, the interviewer will remember you for the right reasons.

For further advice on finding the right job role for you, please contact one of our Expert Levels consultants here to discuss the next step of your career.

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