There is probably no occasion more worrisome than a big interview. And finding the perfect outfit for said interview only adds to the stress and pressure. You know that first impressions count, and it is one of many ways of how to stand out in a job interview, so looking the part is extremely important. How do you get it just right, though? How do you wear something that speaks about you, without you needing to say anything? Here are a few tips for preparing and dressing for an interview.
The culture of the job that you are applying for will dictate what you should be wearing. If you aren’t really sure there are a few things you can do to check.
Look for ‘meet the team’ photos on their website; if you see a lot of collared shirts or dress shirts and dress pants, then that might be something to consider. You could also check out the company’s Facebook page. Often, they will add photographs from work events, and you can begin to get a good idea of deciding what to wear.
You can always check out online reviews, as well, as this may help you to get a feel for the culture of the workplace environment. As a general rule, dress up not down.
The name almost gives it away here, but you are likely going to need to be more conservative and polished at a corporate office. Here are a couple of general guidelines:
- Solid, dark colors like navy or dark grey are clean and not as harsh as black
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Knee-length skirts or dresses
- No big chunky jewelry
- Do not spray too much perfume/cologne
- Clean and well-kept nails
- Neat hair
- Closed Toe Shoes
- Portfolio in hand
Overall, dressing for a job interview – especially at a corporate office – means you should dress professionally, whether that means you wear a suit or a nice dress and dress shoes.
If the workforce is less formal, then you probably don’t have to be totally suited and booted either as the dress code may likely be way less formal. There is a fine line between hip and scruffy, so be careful with it.
Business casual is always an easy option. Typically some nice pants and a clean button-down shirt, but not a blazer. Even if a lot of the employees are wearing sneakers and jeans, it doesn’t mean you should wear this as your interview outfit.
Startup casual might be the easiest one to dress for. Clean clothing, you can still skip the jeans here if you want to lean on the smarter side. Stylish, not sloppy. A polo shirt and well-cut trousers are great, and you can probably wear some nice sneakers here too.
The First Impression
You have a nanosecond to make a good impression with the hiring manager. The fastest way to do this is to smile and stand tall. Smile at your interviewer and introduce yourself with confidence. Shake hands and take a seat. Your clothing is going to be comfortable, so you probably aren’t going to have that on your mind either and can focus more on making an excellent first impression.
Be friendly, smile, and keep your body language open. These are all simple but great techniques to seem confident and lively when first meeting someone.
What to Bring
There are a few things that you should bring with you. Even though they likely have a copy of your CV or resume, cover letter, and some of your portfolio – it pays to be prepared and bring your own copies. You will likely need some form of identification, and even if not, it’s better to be prepared.
When going into an interview, it’s a great idea to bring a notepad and paper and sometimes your laptop if you are presenting something or showing your resume. Be sure to keep your mobile phone on silent or preferably off as this can be rude and distracting, if not.
And always bring breath mints with you, because those coffees you had on the way to the interview will have a lasting impact on your breath.
We hope these tips help you prepare your next interview! Good luck! Let us know if there are any other tips on what to wear to an interview or how to prepare for it in the comments below.
Alyson Pittman is a contributing writer for WBD and a JR marketing associate for Excite Creative Studios, an Atlanta-based creative agency.
Alyson graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. She was in multiple organizations at KSU where she held leadership positions. As a part of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority, Alyson held the Social Coordinator position and planned/promoted large events.