Many business organizations have pushed aside formal dress codes, allowing for more relaxed work environments. But when preparing for an important interview, it’s always safest to assume that you should dress in a traditional, professional manner.
1) When in doubt, go conservative.
If you ever are on the edge as to whether or not clothing, jewelry or hairstyle selections are appropriate for an interview, it’s just plain safer to lean toward the more conservative choice. It’s better to be more formal than informal – safer to be old-fashioned than outlandish. This might seem boring, but it’s your best bet. Show the potential employer the respect they deserve by dressing up. And if you find that they allow a more relaxed dress code, you can always adjust after you’ve landed the job.
2) Stick to solid colors.
In most cases, clothing colors shouldn’t be overly bright or flashy. Again, err on the side of conservatism. Certain colors and patterns may stick out too much or clash with the interviewer or organization’s ‘style’.
3) Be mindful of your hygiene.
Make sure your hair is tidy, your nails are trimmed, you’re freshly showered, and your shoes are shined. The last thing you want is to go into an important interview looking like you just rolled out of bed or came straight from the gym. First impressions are fairly or unfairly based very heavily on your appearance, so it’s important that you prepare yourself in this way. Don’t give them any reason to doubt your abilities or attention to detail.
4) Go light on the scents.
If you normally wear perfume, cologne or aftershave, make sure that you don’t go overboard. If you use too much, it could overwhelm the employer and make for an uncomfortable interview. You want their focus to be entirely on the interaction with you. This is not a time for distraction. Everyone reacts differently to perfume and cologne. Assume that your favorite scent may have a negative effect on others. When in doubt, leave it on the shelf or in your purse.
5) Make sure your clothes fit and are ready to go.
I can understand and appreciate that you might not wear your formal interview clothes very often, but at least try them on ion advance of the big day and make sure they fit properly. Especially if you have had recent weight change – which the stress of a job search can often cause. Knowing that you look your best is important both for your confidence and your comfort throughout the interview. Make sure you look as great as you are.
Follow these five common sense tips, and you look your best at your next interview.
It can’t hurt and may very well help.
John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.
Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”