“Don’t judge a book by its cover”, they say but that’s not the case when it comes to dressing for your success in your job interview. Imagine entering an interview room and the interviewer’s panel is looking at your top to bottom, already disappointed in you from the way you have dressed. Your first impression may turn out to be your last impression. Not that dressing properly will help you ace that interview, which will be totally based on your skills, but the unprofessional dressing sense will lessen your chances of being hired.
“An important part of dressing for success is not only wearing something well but making sure it is appropriate for the occasion or the environment.” – Susan C. Young
Professional appearance in an interview is crucial. The way you dress will define you. Susan C. Young, in his book, The Art of Preparation said, “Dressing appropriately in one venue may be highly inappropriate in another. Yet every day we see a lack of modesty and taste, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes others feel”. It means you cannot dress the same for a day out with your friends and a day at your workplace for an interview.
You won’t believe but research has proven that when an employer gets to choose between two potential candidates with similar skills, he will choose the one who came professionally dressed for the interview. The one who put more effort into dressing is quite likely to be hired than the one who gave less attention to how he dressed for the interview.
In this article, we will discuss how to dress appropriately in an interview.
A Guide to Dress for a Success Interview
Color choice matters
The different colors you wear signifies different representations of characteristics and qualities. The colors also have a psychological effect and it portrays different-different meanings in the business world and in real life too.
That is why it is so important to choose the colors you wear wisely.
A list of some basic colors that will never leave too strong or too dull impression:
- Dark Blue: Portrays confidence and calmness
- Black: Basic color choice, Represents leadership
- White: Basic and safe color choice
- Shades of Gray: Neutral choice, won’t distract the interviewer
- Shades of Beige: Trending and soothing to eyes
In case if you are going for a fashion designing interview, you could also go for colors like red, yellow, or pastel trending colors as to how you dress will be more important in these kinds of interviews as they will want to see how you carry yourself. Colors like red, yellow, light blue, orange and other vibrant colors may not be a good choice for interviews for professions like marketing, finance, human resource, professors, teachers, etc. but you can go for vibrant colors if you belong to the creative industry. Dress for the industry.
Do remember that pairing these colors with appropriate shades is equally important. Try to pair the colors with neutral shades of colors only as they are indicators of being in the no-risk zone for an outfit. Neutral shades always work together.
Dress professionally but also comfortably
Your discomfort will clearly be visible to the employer, that’s why wear something that’s comfortable and easy to carry.
Printed outfits can look extremely unprofessional. Neutral prints like checks, polka dots, or lines can still work but floral prints and patterns can give employers a feeling that you will be off for a vacation right after the interview. So, avoid funky patterns and the best option and the safest one would be dressing using solid colors as they give an extremely professional and subtle look.
Interview outfit choices
For Women: Honestly, there are more options for a woman to choose from than there are for a man. So, ladies, to dress for your success, you can go for
- A Pant Suit: You could wear a basic white solid shirt with neutral shades pants and layer it with the same shade of blazer. Formal black small heels could work to complete the look. You can even remove the blazer part, just shirt paired with contrast pants works too.
- Skirt Suit
- Solid Kurta-Pant Set consisting of contrast shades
For Men: Well, men don’t have much choices, but you could never go wrong with a
- Two-Piece Business Pant Suit: Light colored shirt paired with dark-colored trousers gives an amazing work look. You could always add extras to look more formal like a matching tie or a formal jacket.
- For footwear, men should go for neutral black or brown formal shoes.
- Do not wear jeans, trousers should strictly be business casuals.
Investing in a good pantsuit works for both the genders.
These outfits themselves give you a confident look but it is important to keep the right posture and body language in front of the employer as these are non-verbal modes of communication which also equally matters. Make eye contact with the employer and a firm handshake could work wonders.
In the end, don’t forget to groom your hair and accessorize minimally as a watch could work. Even if you are going for an interview for a company where the dress code is informal, you should still dress for the interview to give a good first impression. In case your interview is online over a video call, you should still dress for it as well.
As a takeaway from this article, I would suggest you read the book by Susan Young names “The Art of Preparation” as it will help you make a positive impact in front of the employer.
Although we live in a generation where it does not really matter how you dress, it’s all up to you. Yes, you should dress up to yourself, while following a professional dress code as it is a crucial aspect of your personality. Comment below on what you like about this article. We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Do share it with your friends and colleagues and always remember to dress for your success.
All the best!
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Sandeep Bhandari is the founder of PrepMyCareer.com website.
I am a full-time professional blogger, a digital marketer, and a trainer. I love anything related to the Web, and I try to learn new technologies every day.
All the team management, content creation, and monetization tasks are handled by me. Together with the team at PrepMyCareer, the aim is to provide useful and engaging content to our readers.