Job interviews can be nerve-wracking. After all, the stakes are high and there is no way to predict how it will turn out. Most wisely try to make the odds as favorable as possible, both by researching the company and rehearsing answers to likely questions. Some go to great lengths to dress appropriately because everyone knows that showing up to a job interview dressed as a circus clown will portray you as… well, a clown. However, there’s even more information conveyed in how you dress.
But first, here are some statistics:
- People base 55% of their impressions of someone by the way a person acts and dresses.
- When comparing two qualified applicants, 65% of hiring managers will refer to the applicant’s attire as the deciding factor on who to hire.
- One-third of hiring managers already know within 90 seconds of meeting the applicant if he or she will be hired or not.
What Does Your Attire Reveal About You?
Undoubtedly, the interview is the perfect time to showcase your best self. So what do your clothes reveal about you?
1. Your Ability to be Organized
Arriving for your interview looking your best means you planned ahead of time. You reviewed your wardrobe and looked for pieces that matched your overall appearance. You probably did a test run of your outfit the day before to see if everything fit well.
2. Your Level of Professionalism
Well-pressed interview attire and a neat appearance helps convey confidence. By being prepared, confident and self-assured you will deliver even under pressure and stress.
3. Your Reliability and Consistency
Your outfit is neat, your shoes are clean, and your nails are groomed. You even have a printed copy of your resumé and a pen in your satchel or portfolio. A reliable person ensures that all points are covered, and no detail is left unattended.
4. Your Respectful and Considerate Demeanor
By considering the interviewer’s tastes and preferences, you stay away from flashy and bold colors, chunky accessories, and perfume. You are aware that these may distract the interviewer. Anything that takes the interviewer’s attention away from your skills and capabilities lessens your chance of getting the job.
5. Your Measure of Intention
Your visual image is proof that you are serious in bagging the job. The interview is your appeal to get through the gate. Showing up for an interview without paying attention to how you look discounts your desire to get the position.
Interview Attire 101: A Few Tips to Consider
Keep in mind that the goal of the interview is to get hired. A job interview is not a suitable venue to show your artistic or edgy sense of style. You can express your personal style once hired and after you have consulted the company’s dress code. So what makes good interview attire? Here are a few reminders and tips to remember:
- Gentlemen, suit up. Ladies, keep it crisp and tailored. While the nature of the business of the company you are applying for may make a difference (see the above circus clown reference), a suit and a tailored coat is the best go-to option. If a suit is too dressy, opt for a well-pressed button-down shirt with a subdued tie. For ladies, be mindful of the fit and cut of your interview attire. The last thing that you need is discomfort from wearing something too low or too short.
- Stick with solid neutral colors such as black, gray and navy blue. Avoid busy and eye-catching prints, as well as flashy and loud colors. If you wish to add a pop of color, use yellow or light blue for your tie or shirt; yellow exudes energy and positivity while light blue means calmness and honesty.
- Keep accessories to a minimum – a business watch, a pair of simple earrings. If possible, cover your tattoos. Wear a belt that matches the color and grain of your shoes. Use a satchel bag or portfolio instead of a backpack.
- Skip perfumes and fragrances and use aftershave sparingly. Some people may have allergies or are sensitive to scents. Your scent should not be the only thing the interviewer remembers about you. Same goes with makeup.
- Avoid footwear that exposes your toes, like sandals or flip-flops. Invest in comfortable and presentable dress shoes. Make sure that your shoes are clean and avoid socks with eccentric designs.
- Hairstyle should be neat and manageable. For men, facial hair should be shaved or groomed. It will be best to arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of time so you can do a quick check of your appearance in the restroom before your interview.
There is truth to the adage, “First impressions last.” When it comes to job interviews, first impressions don’t usually have a second chance. Seize the opportunity to present your best self and ace that job interview.