In today's society, it might seem as if the idea of "dressing for success" is antiquated and no longer necessary. While it may appear that society as a whole has embraced a more casual dress code than was the norm 50 years ago, it is still important to make a great first impression at an interview. There are direct correlation between successful employment interviews and dressing for success--even if you are the most qualified candidate for a job, the interviewer could overlook you if you do not present yourself properly.
Check out these five tips that will help you stand out at your next interview:
1. Clean yourself up. Before we even move on to what you are wearing to your interview, let's talk about your personal grooming habits. Your grooming is just as important as your clothing. A well-groomed, clean-cut image makes you seem more reliable and shows that you take pride in yourself. Lost a bet to the guys and not allowed to shave for a year? Find some other way to pay up--going into an interview looking like a grizzly bear will NOT turn out well. Before your interview, the best bet is to get a hair cut, shave, trim your nails (ladies, even if you are fond of long, loud, outrageous nails, now is the time to tone it down), and take it easy on the makeup. Avoid heavy perfume and cologne when going to an interview--they can be overpowering and a major turn off to interviewers. Deodorant and even a lightly scented lotion will do just fine.
2. Find your "power" outfit. Everyone should own an outfit that makes them feel good. You might think it's difficult to find a suitable outfit that both makes you feel great and is dressy enough for an interview. It is possible to feel great and show your personality while still being appropriately dressed for an interview-maybe you have a beautiful skirt that you love, but you usually wear it in a more casual way. Use that skirt, but pair it with a sleek blazer and a pair of killer heels and you've got a power outfit perfect for an interview. The right "power" outfit will make you feel comfortable, successful, and capable of anything.
3. Know what to avoid... If you are struggling to find the right interview outfit, start out by clearly understanding what clothing must be avoided at all costs. Steer clear of tight clothing, shorts, miniskirts, scuffed or dirty shoes, jeans, low-cut shirts (if you aren't sure if you are showing too much skin, err on the side of caution and find something different), sagging pants, and anything with holes, rips, or runs. Your clothing needs to be clean, neat, and crisp. Break out the iron before your interview and get all those wrinkles out. For the men out there-if you normally wear your pants loose and around your hips, be sure to buy a belt and pants that fit around your waist. If you want to be taken seriously, it is important to show that you are serious about the job.
4. Check out the workplace, if possible. It is a huge benefit to check out the workplace before your interview, if at all possible. Take a look around and see how others are dressed and get a feel for the group dynamic. While most interviews require business attire, some types of businesses may be more relaxed than others. For example, if you are interviewing for a position at a graphic design company, you might notice everyone comes to work in jeans and t-shirts. We're not suggesting you show up to your interview in jeans and a t-shirt, but perhaps a three-piece suit is too much. You want to look like a good fit for the company, and showing up overdressed can make you feel like an outsider. In these cases, a business casual approach may be appropriate--clean and ironed polo shirt and khaki pants, maybe. You still want to appear crisp and well-groomed, but not stuffy.
5. Be confident. In addition to your clothing and appearance, your body language can speak volumes. Interviewers will be naturally drawn to a candidate that exudes confidence and pride. You want them to give you a job, so you must make it known that you fully understand the work in question and show them how well you can do it. If you appear comfortable and sure of yourself, this will reassure your interviewers that you would be successful in the position. Confidence, respect, and good manners will take you very far in your interview.
First impressions are extremely important and a negative one could cost you a dream job. Take the time to consider your appearance and demeanor before you go to your next interview. Please feel free to contact us for more tips on making a great impression at your next interview.