First impressions are everything! We can fool ourselves all we want that looks don’t matter and we’re not judgmental, but it’s part of our DNA & it’s human nature – pure and simple. According to Psychology Today: “In fact, first impressions snap into place in just seven seconds […] We tend to get attached to our initial impressions of people and find it difficult to change our opinion of them. As a result, it’s important to be aware of how we come across to others during a first meeting”
As such, first impressions can make or break your interview, no matter how good your CV looks or how well you answer the interviewee’s questions. Also, it’s no secret that when you look good, you feel good and as a result, you exert a certain level of confidence, which in turn allows you to articulate your thoughts and wow the audience.
That is the reason why you need to dress the part! But the question still remains: what to wear to an interview? Here are my top 5 tips to help you pick the right outfit and land that dream job!
#1: Do your research:
Corporate, casual or business casual? The simple answer is: it depends! You need to find out what is the culture & dress code of the company. Sure, you looked up what the company does, what it values & its mission statement (pretty important if you think you want to work there), but what about how the employees dress day to day? There are several ways of finding out! For instance, you can ask the HR representative what people wear to the office; you can also play detective and do a little stalking on social media (after all, its for a good cause); or you can reach out to someone you might know at the company.
Typically, if you’re applying to a job in the corporate world (law firms, auditing firms or a bank), chances are the dress code is corporate and you’re better off with a suit! However, if you’re applying to work at a fashion brand, then you should wear something trendy but not flashy – I recommend business casual. The definition of business casual is less than a suit but more than jeans. However, suits are huge in the fashion world right now, so you can’t go wrong with that option. In other industries, I would recommend wearing a pair of trousers, a shirt & a blazer for your business casual look.
#2: Plan ahead:
Have you ever spilt coffee on yourself? I you haven’t, you must be a unicorn! It also means that the day of your interview might be your unlucky day, therefore be sure to bring a spare outfit! You’re likely going to be carrying a bag/briefcase with you, so there is no harm in slipping in an extra shirt or even a spare pair of pants.
You also want to look sharp & polished, so your clothes should fit you like a glove, you should feel comfortable in them and they should be steamed. Looking like a slob will make you appear like someone who is disorganized, not detail oriented and potentially the wrong candidate for the job. I don’t know about you, but I can’t focus on the interview questions when my pants are too tight, so make sure that you try on the outfit at least the day before the interview & adjust accordingly.
#3: Chose smart accessories & the right shoes:
No matter how fashion forward an office is, you don’t want to show up to an interview with jewelry that overpowers your look. Opt for dainty pieces such as a simple necklace or earrings & a watch or discreet bracelet. If you’re going to wear hair barrettes, skip the necklace and earrings. As for the bag, as long as it’s not neon yellow, have fun with it! Neutral colors or a nice subtle print like snake skin (huge this season) can get you noticed and could be a great ice breaker.
As for the shoes, try to steer clear of extremely high heels, especially if you’re not comfortable wearing them – it will show. A moderate heeled pumps or a flat loafer are great choices. Once again, wearing a a nice shoe might get you the right kind of compliments!
#4: Wear the right makeup:
Makeup is part of your look & can express your creativity and personality, but it can also be a detractor. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear makeup, just dial it down a bit and opt for a daytime look that suits you and looks more natural.
However, I personally don’t think that wearing a bold lip is out of the question if you’re wearing neutral makeup. In fact, I think that it shows that you are assertive & comfortable with who you are and you’re not afraid to express it. Everything in moderation.
#5: Own it:
If you don’t feel like a million dollars, you are not wearing the right outfit! As I mentioned before, confidence is boosted when you wear great clothes that you feel good in. If it’s not the case, you need to go back to the drawing board! If you don’t have what you need, you should to go shopping. It’s an investment in your future, plus you’re likely going to wear those clothes to work anyway and get a lot of use out of them by mixing and matching with other pieces in your closet, so it’s all upside!
Now, get dressed, put on a smile and go after the job you deserve #girlboss!!