Dress for success

It is well documented that as humans, we usually make up our minds about a person within the first seven seconds of meeting them, which raises the question, why oh why do some people still show up to job interviews dressed like they have raided a fancy-dress box?

Research conducted by various career agencies showed that 65% of hiring managers say that clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates, so it’s important to ensure your appearance is an asset not a liability to give you the edge. Now I am in no way suggesting that we all need to look the same and not be able to express ourselves through the clothing we wear, but what is important is that when it comes to interviews, you consider every aspect of the process and that includes, your wardrobe choices.

First impressions are fundamental to the success of relationships and for most of us, they are usually accurate. This does not mean we are incapable of misreading people but to give yourself the best chance of making the right first impression to get the job of your dreams, there are a few simple steps you can take. Sally Mlikota, Director of CBC Staff Selection, put together her top tips for dressing for success at interviews.

1. Select an appropriate outfit for the role you are being interview for

Sound simple? You would be surprised how many people get this wrong. If you’re going for an interview for an office job, wear your best business outfit rather than the day-to-day clothes you would normally wear to work when you’d been there for a while. Obviously, this is generalised advice as some of us always go that extra mile to ensure we are always immaculate however, if you’re not this way inclined, now is the time make the extra effort.

If you’re going for a manual labour or trade job, don’t turn up wearing your high vis vest but similarly, don’t wear a suit. Instead, smart jeans and a shirt would be more than appropriate – it’s all about finding a balance and appearing natural and confident.

2. Be prepared

As the time-honoured motto of the Boy Scouts goes, ‘be prepared’. It is likely that you’re going to be nervous so make sure you already know what you’re going to wear a few days out from the interview. Not only will this give you time to freshen your outfit up if it’s something you haven’t worn for a while, but you’ll be less likely to pick something unsuitable or make yourself late through panic and indecision.

You could have the best outfit in the world but if it hasn’t been ironed or washed, your first impression will be poor. Interviewers expect you to make an effort and by not doing so, you’re more likely to come across as not really wanting the job, even if you do.

Make sure your outfit still fits, if it’s too tight you’re going to feel uncomfortable – too loose and you could look untidy.

 3. Avoid any ‘statement’ pieces

We’ve been oversaturated with this term thanks to the many and varied home improvement shows on television, but this doesn’t apply to getting a good score at an interview. Avoid anything garish and distracting – conservative is usually best so that you are remembered for what you say, rather than the person who wore the flashing bow tie with puppies on, complete with matching handkerchief.

It’s important not to look dated as this is also a statement piece, a very wrong statement piece. Make sure you’re dressed in something contemporary that suits your personality and that you feel comfortable in. The exception is progressive industries such as creatives and the arts, or tech firms whereby adding a little personality, will be welcomed.

 4. Body art

Tattoos and piercings are becoming more mainstream and acceptable in the workplace however for an interview, it is still recommended to keep them covered rather than flaunting them. In the same way as a poor outfit choice can be distracting, so too can your ink or piercing.

Even if your tattoo is the most non-offensive piece of art, research shows that hiring managers can still have an issue with them so if you want to give yourself the edge, the safest option as far as your body art is concerned, is to select an outfit that keeps it out of sight.

 5. Casual Jobs do not mean casual clothing choices

Just because it’s a casual, part time or a seasonal job, it doesn’t mean you are off the hook as far as the interview outfit goes. You need to do everything you can to stand out from the rest and by making an effort in your appearance, you will demonstrate that getting the job is important to you and that you’re taking it seriously.

If it’s your first job interview then you will definitely feel more confident if you’re wearing something specifically chosen for it and even if you’re experienced in the interview process, if you know you look good, it will help you feel good!