When preparing for an interview, candidates have a lot to remember:
- What do I know about the company?
- Will I remember everybody’s name and what they do?
- Do I have questions to ask them?
- What questions will they ask me and how will I answer them?
Being mentally prepared is crucial to landing a job but being physically prepared is equally important. As the saying goes, perception is reality.
Imagine getting financial advice from someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt. What would your initial reaction be? Now imagine that same person wearing a nicely fitted suit, pressed shirt with a tie, shined shoes, and a nice watch. It’s the same exact person and same advice. However, your confidence in their financial advice drastically changes, doesn’t it?
I’ve seen many very qualified candidates lose job offers because of a bad choice in their wardrobe. One candidate wore slippers, another an old beat up shirt, and a third candidate had scuffed shoes. My clients told me that all three of these candidates were great but they just didn’t feel comfortable sending them to a client so none of them got the job.
Sometimes you can’t control your chemistry with the interviewer or be able to think fast enough to answer a question the best you can. However, don’t lose a job because you’re not dressed correctly. That is something that you can always 100% control.
Here are the top things men and women must remember when getting dressed for an interview:
For Men and Women:
1.) Print your resume on resume paper and have it in a leather bound portfolio case similar to the one below.
2.) Make sure your cell phone is turned off. I would recommend leaving it in the car or taking the battery out.
3.) An interview isn’t the time to drench yourself in cologne or perfume. One or two sprays is more than enough and I personally wouldn’t wear any.
4.) All tattoos should be covered.
5.) All facial piercings should be removed.
6.) You are better off buying a less expensive suit and getting it tailored to fit your body for $100 rather than an expensive suit that doesn’t fit you. Just because clothes are expensive doesn’t mean you look good in them. Be sure they fit you properly. If this means going in to get the suit slightly tailored occasionally, it is definitely worth the investment in getting a job.
1.) Wear a nice suit. I always recommend playing it safely and being conservative. I suggest wearing a dark suit, ideally black or navy blue, but dark grey is acceptable as well.
2.) Wear a crisp white shirt on with a conservative tie. Don’t try to be trendy by breaking out the red shirt and tie that you have.
3.) Try your clothes on at least one week ahead of time. I’ve lost and gained weight or have purchased a suit that’s a little too big on me. I always take my interview suit to a tailor to make sure it fits me properly. Since this takes time, I make sure to plan this in advance. You are better off having a less expensive suit that fits you versus an expensive suit that doesn’t.
4.) Take your suit and shirt to the dry cleaners. It always looks so much nicer when you do and you’ll feel more confident. I recommend light starch on the white shirt.
5.) Shine your shoes. I just sent a candidate into an interview last week. He told me the first thing the hiring manager did when he got there was look under the table at his shoes. Don’t wear beat up shoes with scuff marks. Shoes are more important than you think.
6.) Shave and get a haircut and manicure if needed.
7.) Limit the amount of jewelry you wear and if you have a watch on, make sure it’s an appropriate dress watch.
1.) If you’re not sure, err on the side of being conservative. A skirt or pant suit in navy blue, dark brown, gray or black is recommended.
2.) If you choose to wear a skirt, it should hit right below the top of your knee. It is not appropriate to wear short skirts.
3.) Don’t wear shoes that are open toed, open healed, or too wild or trendy. Heels shouldn’t exceed 2.5 inches.
4.) Be careful not to overdo it on the makeup or perfume and have well manicured nails. The interview isn’t the time to try on your new nail polish with glitter. Pick a conservative solid color and make sure it’s not chipped.
6.) If you wear earrings, only wear one pair. I’d also recommend only one ring on each hand, one necklace, one bracelet, and a nice watch (nothing sporty). Be careful not to overdo it on the jewelry.
I hope some of this advice will help you be better prepared for your interview. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.