Impressing a prospective employer at a job interview usually has more to do with your appearance and demeanour than what you actually say during the course of the meeting. Is it any wonder, then, that women have been pondering over this pressing question for years now: how do I dress for job interview success?
When asked this question, I usually tell people that there is no one-shot formula for success. In fact, what you wear is heavily influenced by the industry and level of the job in question so for starters, it is always a good idea to do your research on the dress code of the industry and company. This initial step is extremely important because people at the same level will dress differently across industries – pitch fashion against finance for an easy example!
Once you have got a hang of how people tend to dress, you can start planning your own interview look. As a rule of thumb, you should always dress a couple of notches fancier than what the company requires. For example, if the standard dress code is jeans and a t-shirt (yes, this does exist!), I would opt for a pair of jeans with a crisp white shirt and boyfriend blazer.
Unless you are one of the lucky ones who is interviewing within the fashion industry, your interview attire should be as simple and minimal as possible. Avoid loud, busy prints and superfluous pops of colour but do not hesitate to wear a slightly bright colour if it makes you feel like a superstar. Simply balance out the brightness with a neutral hue like navy blue, olive green or beige. Remember, fit is everything. Nothing screams disinterest like ill-fitted clothes so spend some extra time and money in finding an outfit that fits and flatters your body.
Ladies, if you plan to wear a dress or skirt to your interview, remember that the hemline should be no shorter than a pen length above your knee. This prevents unwanted exposure when you sit down. A display of cleavage is an absolute no-no as well.
As with any ensemble, accessories can make or break your look for an interview. Small details are a great way to let your personality shine through, but an overload of accessories (even if that is your normal style) can be overwhelming and look unprofessional. Contrary to what many say, it is a-okay to wear one statement jewellery piece to your job interview, as long as it professional (avoid neon, spikes, unsightly motifs, cult symbols etc.) I always try to match my shoes to my bag for job interviews – it might be old school but it works like a charm in bringing your entire look together!
Do not forget to pay attention to the little things. Ensure that your nails are neatly trimmed and filed (again, avoid loud colours unless the industry calls for it). Spritz on a light scent that speaks to your personality but is not overwhelming for the person sitting across from you. Keep your makeup light and your hairstyle neat.
Finally, stick a beautiful smile on your face, gather up your confidence and get ready to wow the socks off your interviewer. You go, girl!