While dressing right professionally itself is very important, it’s even more important to dress right for interviews.
You get only one chance to create the right first impression. Half the battle is won if you look the part. It is not about being sexist but showing how important the job is for you. About showing what kind of a professional are you. About exuding confidence and about being able to convince various stakeholders once you are in the job, that they can trust you with their business. Of course you need to be able to back it up with the right strategic inputs and real substance but if you dress the part then you have successfully checked the first box in an interviewer’s checklist.
While it is important to dress up, it is imperative to not overdo it. Remember it’s a professional environment and not a party place.
Many studies show that the clothes you wear can affect your mental and physical performance. Enclothed cognition as a concept suggests that there is something biological happening when we put on a smart outfit and feel like a new person. While what we wear does not define us or determine our value, people do form impressions based on how we look and dress. Clothes communicate a variety of things including financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion.
Here are my top 8 tips on dressing “Right” for interviews:
1. No skin show – No really short skirts, no deep necks or strapless tops please. It’s not a Club Night!
2. Invest in a good dry cleaner – Never wear dirty or wrinkled clothes to an interview. Grease stains and crumpled clothing are an absolute no no.
3. Take a hard look in the mirror – Wear clothes that fit well and are neither too tight nor too baggy. They not only should make you look good but also make you feel like “Top of the world”
4. Always follow the dress code (or dress one step above). Tend to err on the side of caution. Personally, I am a great believer of business suits at all times but depending on your job role and the company culture you may choose smart casuals or formals but do away with the jacket.
5. Stay sober – Choose the colour pallet very carefully. Solids – whether dark or pastel work well but avoid large and flashy prints. Pinstripes, small checks, even small prints are also fine.
6. Wear appropriate accessories. Don’t wear jewelry that is too flashy or loud – stay away from chunky necklaces, dangling earrings, clanging bangles.
7. Don’t ignore the shoes – And remember your shoes define who you are! While if you are visiting a construction site, flats might be appropriate, everywhere else heels work well, at least kitten heels. Like your jewelry, shoes can’t be the party wear kinds with too much bling. Stick to solids in black or tan or camel. Closed shoes are highly recommended.
8. Wear Make-up – Makeup is important and is an integral part of your presentation. Don’t overdo it but do wear full day make-up. And make sure your hair is well set.
Now that you look like a million bucks; go show them you are really good at what you do. 😊
P.S: While this article is focussed at professional women, it in no way implies that men can be any less careful when dressing up for interviews!