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How to dress for an interview {Important tips}

Updated on by Sarina

How many seconds does it take to get a job? If you know the answer, you have got the job! I am not joking. Countless studies have told us that interviewers usually decide to hire within the first 90 seconds of an interview. Enough time to impress them with your clothing and the way you carry them.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen always in a grey t-shirt. That is, almost always. But, when he had to impress in a senate hearing he wore a suit. Good dressing style conveys to the interviewer that you consider the meeting and the job important. So you can say what you wear is an important element in the selection criteria for a job. Your personality and your suitability for a job are indeed the most important elements but that can be so much aided by a brilliant first impression.

So? Suit up? Not necessarily. You can still make a good impression without being too obvious about it or choosing the most expensive dress or suit. The mantra of good interview dressing style is “Keep it simple”.

how to dress for an interview

What to wear for a job interview?

Do your research. You have to dress for the position you are applying for and also for the company you are going to work for. The interviewer may assess whether you will fit into their groups. So you have to ‘dress the part’ while attending an interview.

Do some background checks on whether the organization has a formal dress code. If they have, it will be too much to hope to nail the interview in a jeans and casual t-shirt. But for a start-up with youngsters, it would be overkill to go in a suit.

Here are some pointers on how to ace the interview with your conservative and professional dressing style.

Interview Dressing tips for Women

You can choose trousers matched with a solid color blazer. You can also wear a knee-length skirt.
For trousers or skirts go for dark shades and tops can be of pastels or any subdued colors.
A simple blouse  in a neutral color, with or without collar – this is the best. too many frills or loud flashy prints, lacy or sheer fabrics are all distractions from a neat professional look. Modest sleeves are preferred over sleeveless, even under a blazer. What if you have to take it off.

Button-down shirts with a modest neckline need not be uninteresting. Instead of going for the usual white, grey, or blue, play with pastels or other neutral colors and interesting fabrics. Avoid flashy or shimmery colors. Also avoid too tightfitting styles, heavy embroidery, large prints, flowy materials, tassels, etc.

A well-fitting dress can also give you a neat professional look. A quality dress that skims the knees with a structured fit gives a modern look.

Footwear

Choose closed-toed shoes like moccasins, bellies, pumps etc. You can also wear sandals. Wear heels only if you are comfortable in them. A small heel of 1 1⁄2 – inch is alright.

Make sure your choice of footwear is not too loud on the floor. Also do not forget to clean and polish your shoes.

Jewelry/ accessories

Wear simple jewelry and not big, loud fashion statements. 
Wear a wristwatch that is simple and elegant.
It is better to avoid too much jewelry.

Hair and make up

If you have long hair, wear it in a ponytail, bun or keep it plaited. Do not wear flashy hairpins or clips.
While leaving the hair short, care should be taken that it doesnot fall on your face. When you touch your face every now and then it may be construed as nervousness or lack of confidence.
Subtle makeup with a moisturized face, thin eyeliner, and lightly applied lipstick is more than enough to enhance your looks. Avoid bold bright lipstick and dark mascara.
Manicured nails and light-colored nail polish if you are applying any are plus points. Avoid bright glittery long nails.

Bags

Use a file folder to keep all your important documents
Carry a small handbag which is roomy enough to hold your personal things.

Interview Dressing tips for men

A collared shirt in cotton or linen fabric preferably long-sleeved – in a plain fabric or one with micro checks.

Opt for a blazer over a light or solid-colored shirt.
Choose neutral colors-  whites, greys, and shades of blue, and other neutral pastels are safe shades for your attire. 
A dark-colored trouser with slim, medium, or regular fit. Most everybody like dark neutral shades of Blue, Black, Gray, and Brown. It is better to avoid prints on pants. 

If the interview demands it, wear a suit. A dark-colored jacket, matching dress pants with a light-colored shirt. Fit should be comfortable. 
If you are wearing a tie go for a traditional one with a color and pattern that suits your shirt. Avoid flashy ties.

Footwear and belt

Choose a comfortable pair of formal shoes. Make sure they are well polished.

Footwear should be devoid of any dust or stains. Keep footwear wipes ready with you in case of emergency.
Socks should be preferably plain and color should match the trousers
While selecting the belt, go for a textured one to add some style
Make sure your shoes and belt complement each other.

Accessories

Wear a wristwatch with a plain leather strap or steel chain.

Bag

A small briefcase or laptop bag is the ideal accessory. The color of the bag can be black or tan.

Hair and face

Hair should be combed neat and clean. A more conservative haircut is preferred over trendy stylish haircuts. The rule is not to let your haircut distract the interviewer.
Don’t forget to shave in the morning.
If you have a beard or a mustache wear it trimmed and neat.
Nails should be trimmed and clean.

Conclusion

You cannot underestimate the importance of dressing on an interview selection, so give as much attention to this part as you would about polishing your resume or sharpening your knowledge for the big day. If you are wearing clothes that smell nice and look clean and are well pressed, half the job is done. Above all, ensure that you look confident in whatever you are wearing.

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