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What to wear to a job interview

Julianne Leybag
30 July 2018 2 minute readShare
job, interview, outfit, attire, clothing, work

Making a lasting impression during a job interview involves dressing smart. Here are some valuable tips on what to wear to an interview.

The importance of dressing for success lies in its ability of the applicant to create a good impression and imprint a commanding presence even before they start speaking. Wearing the proper attire for interviews does a lot of good things for applicants, boosting their confidence and allowing them to be at ease during the interview.

When deciding what to and what not to wear on an interview, consider these:

  • Ask for the office dress code
  • Shop smart
  • Less is more, but don’t forget accessories
  • Wear clean, well-polished shoes
  • Formal is foolproof

Ask for the office dress code

Contrary to what most people think, it’s completely okay for applicants to ask what the company’s dress code is right before their scheduled interview.

Not only will it be easier to decide what to wear, it also allows applicants to focus on other important aspects of interview preparation — instead of spending a whole night stressing out on what attire to wear for the next day.

If asking outright for a company’s dress code isn’t entirely possible, applicants can always keep basic attire guidelines in mind. If an applicant is set to enter traditional industries such as banking and finance, the safest bet is to go for a formal business attire.

For other more “dynamic” industries such as advertising, IT and public relations, you could opt for a business casual attire.

Shop smart

The “shop smart” principle applies to everyone, especially for those who want to ace their job interviews.

Instead of buying multiple suits and blazers for a series of interviews, individuals can simply choose to buy one or two suit pieces and use them interchangeably with different-coloured and different-styled business undershirts and skirts or pants. This is called the “capsule dressing strategy”.

Part of shopping smart is keeping in mind that looking expensive doesn’t have to be expensive. Sure, suits and blazers are a good investment, but until the time comes where an individual can really afford to buy expensive clothing, they can make the most out of what’s at hand by thinking of ways to spruce up their clothing minus the large cost.

Less is more, but don’t forget accessories

When dressing up for an interview, keep in mind that less is always more. Applicants should keep their accessories to a minimum, go for muted or basic colours such as black, white and nude and keep hairstyles simple and not too overbearing.

However, if an applicant wants to make a statement with their choice of attire, add a pop of colour to their attire using accessories — such as a scarf wrapped around their neck, a pocket square or understated pieces of jewellery that may attract attention such as earrings or necklaces.

While it’s definitely nice to dress up properly for the job, adding a bit of personality won’t hurt either.

Wear clean, well-polished shoes

Choosing and wearing the right kind of footwear is something usually overlooked—employers can already tell a lot about an applicant’s personality just by looking at their shoes. Of course, footwear doesn’t always have to be brand new or expensive. Make sure to wear shoes that are clean, scuff-free and comfortable.

Applicants also have to keep in mind that some companies prohibit certain kinds of footwear from being worn inside their office premises. While this is usually included in their dress code, the most common prohibitions are wearing sandals, open-toed footwear and flip-flops. Stick to close-toed shoes, at least during the interview proper.

Formal is foolproof

If there’s absolutely no way to know what the company’s dress code is, it’s always best to err on the side of formality. Applicants should go for a more formal look, regardless of the company’s dress code.

Taking the time to look clean, proper and polished shows potential employers that the applicant is making an effort to make themselves presentable during the interview — giving them an advantage against other candidates.

What to wear to a job interview
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Julianne Leybag

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