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 how you carry them.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is always seen in a grey t-shirt. That is, almost always. But, when he had to impress in a senate hearing, he wore a suit.
A good dressing style conveys to the interviewer that you consider the meeting and the job important. So 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, ofcourse, but a brilliant first impression can help a lot.
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”.
What to wear for a job interview?
Do your research. You have to dress for the position you are applying for and 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 jeans and a 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 a collar – this is the best.
- Too many frills or loud, flashy prints and 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.
Choose closed-toed shoes like moccasins, bellies, pumps, etc. You can also wear sandals. Wear heels only if you are comfortable with them. A small heel of 1 1⁄2 – inches is alright.
Make sure your choice of footwear is quiet on the floor. Also, remember to clean and polish your shoes.
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 or bun or keep it plaited. Do not wear flashy hairpins or clips.
- While leaving the hair short, you should ensure it does not fall on your face. When you touch your face 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.
Use a file folder to keep all your important documents.
Carry a small handbag that 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, shades of blue, and other neutral pastels are safe for your attire.
Dark-colored trousers with slim, medium, or regular fit. Most 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 preferably be plain and the 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.
Wear a wristwatch with a plain leather strap or steel chain.
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 to keep your haircut from distracting 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 cleaned.
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 wear clothes that smell nice, look clean, and are well-pressed, half the job is done.
Above all, ensure that you look confident in whatever you are wearing. When your job is at stake, everything can seem like a fashion faux pas. But I have heard some one say that confidence is your no.1 accessory, and may even be the only thing you need, in some cases.
Updated on May 16, 2023 by Sarina Tariq