HOW TO DRESS FOR SUCCESS ON YOUR NEXT JOB INTERVIEW
They told me to always dress for the job I want, so I walked in dressed better than the boss.
This almost cost me the job right before I even started. Here is how it all happened….
It was my very first job interview, I had applied for a software programmer role in the IT firm. There were 6 of us who came for the interview for the same job role, now guess what I wore…I wore a well-fitted navy suit, brown monk-strap shoe, crisp white shirt and a red power tie with a dimple. In summary, I was suited up and so did the rest of us – although some wore what anyone would probably describe as a coat and tie. But in summary, none of us dressed for the occasion (in this context, this wasn’t a Bank job interview, the interview we came for was for a programmer role in a software company).
Having attempted a “corporate takeover” by dressing better than the boss, I only passed the interview just because the interviewers had no other choice than to judge us all by our IT skills while considering me “extra special” because I made a great first impression with the way I was dressed. After all, it’s always preferable to overdress than underdress.
I only learned later that day, that the company observes a casual dress code, hence for me, a smart casual look would have been more suited for the interview, not a business suit. So my first “mistake” I didn’t dress for the occasion, I overdressed for the occasion.
Here are 5 Rules for Your Next Job Interview
1. GET TO KNOW THE COMPANY’S DRESS CODE BEFORE THE INTERVIEW:
First, get to know the company’s dress code before the interview, then dress like them but in a much better way such that you make a great first impression with your “power-outfit”.
The company may be very strict on office attire such as maintaining full format dress code irrespective of the department the staff belongs in or it could be that some staff must put on business attire (e.g. those in a client facing role) while some others are allowed to be on semi-formal. It could also be that the company doesn’t accept business wear dress code, let’s imagine a Road Construction Company. So it’s best you find out what their dress code is before your interview day. To do this, consider getting in touch with one of the employees of the company you are going to be interviewed at. If you don’t know anyone within the company, another good idea is to look up the company’s profile on Linkedin and try and connect with any of their staff and ask questions.
2. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A WELL-DRESSED FIRST IMPRESSION:
Dress for success! On a job interview, your attire should make a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth, a warped & out of shape shoe, a rumpled attire or a torn socks can give a negative impression about you, so it’s very important to get your dressing right.
As mentioned earlier, not all companies prefer a suit, tie and shirt, therefore, it’s important to assess your potential place of employment’s dress code before your interview date to determine what would be most appropriate. Usually, I would suggest you choose from these four (4) options depending on the organization’s dress code.
A. A business suit (single breasted suits)
B. A business casual
C. Semi-Formal Wear
D. Smart Casual
A. BUSINESS SUIT
Invest in a Bespoke Business Suit. I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a suit that fits you correctly. This is ideal if you are attending an interview in a corporate environment. The business suit requires that you button a single enclosure and can be taken off for a more casual appearance. Dress shirts (double or single cuff) should be worn with a business suit for men and a formal shoe. If you are wearing a business suit for an interview, you should also complete your outfit with a silk tie.
B. BUSINESS CASUAL
Business casual clothing for men often means you can remove your tie but still wear dress pants. Pairing dress pants with simple long sleeve shirt gives you a professional but relaxed appearance which is what you need during an interview. You can add a blazer or sweater depending on the weather or style you want to portray. Appropriate shoes include slip on shoes (laceless shoes), flats and boots.
This means taking a more flashy approach to a business clothing by expressing your personality. For instance, you could wear a suit and tie, however, the tie would be a more colorful tie than you would normally choose for business wear. For instance wearing a knit tie with a business suit.
D. SMART CASUAL
Also known as dressy casual is basically a combination of casual, business casual, and business dress codes, where you can combine them into a “smart” ensemble. For instance pairing denim with a sports coat. So if the company you’re interviewing with requests that you adhere to its “smart casual” dress code, you can get away with ditching the formal suit for the interview.
A jacket or blazer over a polo or collar dress shirt can work fine in some situations. Pair that with trousers made of corduroy, wool, cotton, or linen, and you’ll have a perfectly presentable look. Chinos, trousers, vests and ties are other options to bring into the mix. If opting for jeans, your denim should look somewhat dressy, fresh and sharp with no wear or holes.
Never dress too casually (e.g. wearing ripped jeans, t-shirt and sneakers) for an interview, unless it’s clearly stated you should. It’s a job interview not a party.
3. CHOOSE A SOLID COLOR THAT ISN’T DISTRACTING
In any interview, you want the interviewers to focus on you, not on your purple colored suit and orange shirt. Instead of loud busy patterns, choose solid colors that reflect your personality but aren’t too loud or too dull. Instead of red, orange or other bright colors which can easily overpower an interviewer, stick to standard business colors. Navy Blue, Black or Charcoal Gray are the best suit colors for an interview. These colors show authority, conveys confidence and above all, the colors won’t distract the interviewer.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS – POLISHED SHOE, NICE GROOMING, IRONED SHIRT, CLEAN ATTIRE
A polished appearance immediately speaks to your attention to detail. For your shoes, ensure they are well polished and shined. A good shine indicates the dedication to success and presentation. Make sure your clothes are free of wrinkles and don’t forget the lint roller if you have pets.
Once your outfit is perfected, shoes are shined and every wrinkle has been ironed out of your attire. Make sure then that your grooming matches your entire outfit.
When it comes to facial hair, keep it trimmed and clean. Also get a haircut so that your hair is neat.
5. KEEP YOUR OUTFIT SIMPLE
Keep your outfit simple and avoid wearing too many accessories. If you are not sure of the socks to wear, wear black. If you are not sure of the shirt color, stick to a white shirt. The ideal interview attire should leave just a good impression and it shouldn’t look like you’ve put way too much effort on your appearance.
If you’re unsure of the company’s policy, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, if you have tattoos on visible parts of the body such as on his wrist or forearm, consider covering them up. Also take out facial piercings until you are done with the interview.
Avoid using too much cologne, a very little of cologne can be okay. Do not apply too much of it so you don’t suffocate the interviewer.
The way you dress says a lot about your personality, and even if an interviewer doesn’t rule you out based on your wardrobe, he or she might still have reservations about hiring you because of how you are dressed.
Remember, you’ve got only one chance of securing your dream job, why not get it right with your outfit. While you are at it wear something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. Don’t buy an outlandish outfit to make a statement if that’s not your style.
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Thank you so much for stopping by! Have a very stylish day!
Yours in Style,
Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
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