How To Dress For Success

Looks aren’t important, right? Wrong! When Careers website TheLadders quizzed 500 bosses in a recent survey, a substantial 37% of them said they had decided against hiring an applicant because of the way they were dressed at the interview.

Like it or not, you’re going to be judged on your appearance. Of course, this isn't a beauty pageant - nobody’s going to insist you catwalk across the conference room - but presenting yourself in the best possible way through your clothes, hair, shoes etc is going to help you create that all important good first impression.

Here’s our guide on how to dress for success at your interview:

1. Look the business

The first thing you must ask yourself is - what is the company culture like? Are they corporate and conservative or do they favour a more laid-back, creative vibe in the office? Understanding this is going to help you to decide what’s appropriate and what isn't. Check out the company website and take cues from what the staff are wearing in any team photos. If you’re still at a loss, give their HR department a call and double check the dress-code with them.

Dressing in sync with existing employees will help them to visualise you working in that same environment and will show that you've understood the culture & ethos of the company.

2. Keep it clean

Clothes can be important indicators of status, self-care and self-worth. With this in mind, any unsightly marks or stains on your clothing will make it look like you didn’t think enough of yourself, or the job, to make an effort. Check that everything is spic-and-span before the big day and resist the urge to eat or drink anything messy beforehand!

3. Steer clear of ‘Sexy’

Whether the organisation is corporate or laid-back, dressing provocatively is never advisable. Short skirts, plunging necklines, tight shirts and towering heels should all be reserved for a night out in town - NEVER for an interview! Keep it classy guys.

4. Comfort is key

Interviews are stressful enough without a stiff collar choking you to death. While you should look smart and professional, you want to wear something you feel comfortable in to avoid losing focus on the task at hand. For this reason, it’s a good idea to do a dress rehearsal a couple of days before the interview to make sure everything fits correctly and won’t act as a distraction when it really matters.

5. Pay attention to personal grooming

This one’s essential. You might be wearing a suit that would make Don Draper die of envy, but if you forgot to use deodorant, brush your teeth or clean your fingernails that morning, it won’t count for much. Ensuring your hair is neat and tidy is also important and make up for girls should be minimal and natural looking. Oh, and please do use aftershave or perfume sparingly – it’s considered poor form to intoxicate your interviewer.

6. Ask for advice

Once you've decided on the final ‘look’, get an honest friend/parent/sibling to cast a critical eye over your outfit (it’s always good to get a second opinion on these things). Give them this check-list and go through it together. Have you passed on every point? Brilliant! You’re good to go.

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