I’m preparing for a big interview, an exciting opportunity - what do I wear? I can’t believe I’m asking myself this question, I’m a stylist, I have it sussed, a clothing solution for all occasions - don’t I?
I came across a woman the other day shopping for something to wear to a job interview. I gathered from her stress that the interview was very soon. She had set in her mind what she wanted but couldn’t find it (I know that feeling!). Because of her stress and the urgent need to find something, she wasn’t open to trying other styles. The shop assistants were very helpful and gave her lots of options but she quickly dismissed most without even trying them on. I even helped, not that I let it be known I was a stylist, perhaps I should have. She left the store without anything, other than more elevated stress levels!
Choosing the right outfit is really important BUT so is being prepared, well in advance. Whatever you do, don’t leave it to the last minute.
What to wear?
You have to be mindful of who you are meeting and what the purpose of the meeting is. You want to create the right impression. You will be sized up within the first few seconds of meeting the interviewer. They say “you can never be over-dressed” but I believe you can and an interview is one such occasion, don’t over do it.
I recently received a call from a stressed wife telling me her husband decided to go for an internal promotion and had been advised that one of the things holding him back was his attire and that if he wanted to be in management he needed to consider lifting his style; they suggested a suit and tie. I advised against a suit and tie - his industry never wore them and that he would be far better with a smart pair of trousers, shirt (no tie) and a blazer (which compliments but doesn’t match the trousers) and a smart pair of shoes.
- Choose something you feel great in, that you enjoy wearing, that you often get complimented on when you’re wearing it. I’m hoping you have something like that.
- Choose an outfit that is ‘job appropriate’ but dress it up a notch or two.
- Be well groomed - clean, well manicured fingernails, hair washed and looking fab, ironed clothes, shoes polished. I’m sounding old-fashioned and I know I’m stating the obvious but it’s “all in the detail”. This is what people will notice, always the small things.
- Never wear jeans to an interview, even if you know employees might on a day-to-day basis. Never wear jandals or very casual footwear. Don’t wear casual full stop.
- Never wear anything risqué or revealing, for example, something sheer, low-cut or too figure-hugging.
If in doubt, check with a friend or family member.
Do your homework well in advance - make sure you know all there is to know about the company through an Internet search and/or talking to others. Understand the full requirements of the job. Be well versed and confident in “selling” yourself. I know this can be very hard for some people but if you don’t, someone else will. Be yourself and try to relax. Oh, and arrive early - it gives you a chance for calm, deep breathing beforehand.
Good luck :)