With less jobs available due to the recession, it’s never been more important to make a good first impression in an interview.
Not dressing appropriately for an interview is one of biggest mistakes that jobseekers make. What you wear is one of the only things that’s in your control, and if you get it right, it may be the difference between you landing that dream job or being unemployed.
If you want to create a good first impression and land that dream job, follow these tips:
The suit – Always opt for the standard classic suit. There are a lot of fashion suits available that will become dated faster than you can purchase them. Ignore the latest trend and find what looks best on you.
Make sure your suit fits. Too many men buy suits that are too big for them. Find one that’s as close to fitting as possible. If you need to make adjustments, it’s always worth investing in a tailor. When checking your suits fit, ensure that:
- You’re able to move your arms freely.
- You have a few inches room in the chest.
- The chest and shoulders fit comfortably.
- The jacket is long enough to cover your behind.
- When your arms are held straight down, that the arms do not extend past your knuckles.
- The sleeves show ½ inch of shirt cuff.
- Your jacket collar shows ¾ inch of your shirts collar.
For an interview, go for the standard classic suit – single breasted, notched lapels, two or three buttoned jacket, single or double back vent, regular flap pockets, and a left breast pocket. As for trousers – flat or pleated slacks are fine.
When selecting your suits fabric, you need to consider it’s weave and colour. Natural fibres are best , preferably worsted wool. Blended fabrics, although cheaper, are less durable and may be less breathable.
It’s best to select safe colours for an interview – navy blue, charcoal, grey, black.
Other tips for wearing a suit to an interview:
- Unbutton your jacket when sitting down.
- Have your suit dry-cleaned before your interview, if needed.
- Have your suit pressed to ensure you look your best.
- Don’t smoke near your interview suit or other bits of clothing.
- If you’re low on cash, buy cheap, but not cheap-looking.
The dress shirt – The fit should be loose enough so that you’re able to move freely, but not so loose that you have excess material bunched up under the jacket. Your shirt should be long enough so that when you bend over, it doesn’t un-tuck. You should be able to put two fingers in-between your neck and collar – anymore and it’s too loose.
Avoid buttoned down collars in an interview, as they’re appear less formal. Your collar type chosen depends on your facial structure. Long thin faces – spread collar, round faces – point collar.
Your shirts fabric should be simple. Avoid loud colours such a pink and purple, and patterns such as checks – they make the outfit less formal. White and blue colours are simple and go with almost every suit.
The tie – Avoid bright colours or designs that will draw undue attention. Solid or simple patterns in red, blue or black are acceptable. Striped ties are a good choice and come in a wide range of colours. As for the ties fabric, always wear a tie made from silk.
Dress shoes – Your shoes are as important as the suit itself. Avoid anything eccentric. Plain, polished, dark shoes are fine – Oxford is always a safe choice and a good pair will last for years. Remember that your shoes and belt should always match and you should only wear dark socks.
Accessories – Less is always more so keep it simple. A Wristwatch is fine – if it has an alarm, turn it off before the interview. As for jewellery, piercings may be more acceptable in today’s society, but it’s still best to play it safe and remove all piercings if you have any.
Grooming – Your face should be clean shaven, and you should wash in the morning before the interview. Get your haircut a week before, and trim the back of your neck and behind your ears the day before. Your nails should be clean and cut, and your breath should be fresh. Go easy on the cologne – it’s not a first date and some interview rooms are small a lot of cologne may be overpowering.
Closing tips – Your interview clothing will not get you the job – but turning up looking scruffy and untidy could hurt your chances for the position. Your aim is to look neat, professional and present yourself in the best way possible throughout your interview. Wear clothing that’s appropriate for the interview. The interviewee can then focus on you and your skills, not your appearance.