First impressions are incredibly important. When you meet a potential employer for the first time, they immediately form an opinion of you based on what you’re wearing and how you carry yourself. Regardless of the work environment, it’s important to dress appropriately for a job interview because how you dress can either make or break the job interview.
That said, different industries have different expectations of how candidates and employees should dress. The appropriate dress code can vary greatly depending on the company, industry, and location. For example, a tech startup in Silicon Valley might frown on someone who dresses too formally, while a Fortune 50 company on Madison Avenue might frown on someone who dresses too casually.
In today’s ever-evolving job environment and with branding being at the core of almost every company, it’s smart to dress according to their culture. You want your future employer to see you would fit in with their team.
I recently wrote about how to dress for the industry you are interviewing for:
Here are some guidelines of what to wear for a corporate position and what to wear for a more laid-back casual position. In all cases, being well-groomed with clean, untattered clothes is always required.
In general, fashion for women is more complicated and varied than it is for men who have fewer options. It makes assembling an interview outfit a bit more challenging for women than for men. For instance, if you’re wearing a dress or skirt, you need to decide if you should wear pantyhose or if bare legs are acceptable. Women also need to consider interview accessories and choose the right bag. The best bags are professional and large enough to fit a resume but not flashy.
You will never go wrong for a corporate interview with a suit or skirt suit in navy, black or grey with a light or bright blouse or top, closed toe shoes, limited or no jewelry (nothing worse than distraction by your dangling jewelry!), and a polished hairstyle.
It goes without saying that manicured nails, light makeup and limited use of perfume are essentials.
Avoid distracting the interviewer by chewing gum. You can bring your smartphone but make sure it’s on mute or vibrate during your interview. It avoids the risk of getting that loud text alert or phone call mid-interview.
If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (earrings only is a good rule). If possible, cover tattoos.
When the workplace or the job is less formal, the dress code may be less formal as well. If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s fine to check with the person scheduling the interview.
Make your own life easier and get prepared for your interview by making sure you have the appropriate interview attire, and everything fits correctly.
Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don’t have to spend time getting them ready the day of the interview.
If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners right after an interview, so you’re prepared for the next interview. Polish your shoes the night before.
Bring breath mints with you to use before entering the building.
Try to arrive 15 minutes ahead of time for your interview. Good eye contact and a firm handshake go a long way.