Posted by Liisa Sullivan on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - 08:30
You’ve finally landed a job interview for a position you really want. So, what now? You have to be ready to make the best possible impression on your prospective employer. This means a few things: You need to be able to elaborate on the specifics of your resume with ease, be prepared to discuss why you’re a great fit for the company, and, of course, dress for the part.
While clothes might seem inconsequential as to whether or not you'll land a job, appropriate interview attire carries significant weight. According to a survey conducted by Robert Half, the majority of employers have decided what they think about candidates in fewer than 10 minutes into the interview. Appearance counts. Here's how to make the most of your interview attire on your big day:
Even if the firm you’re applying to appears to have a business casual dress code, it’s best to wear a suit to your job interview. If you can spring for the added cost, a custom-tailored suit will put you head and shoulders above the rest. Choose a dark color like black, navy or charcoal. Pinstripes are okay, but stay away from flashier patterns like a windowpane plaid or herringbone. It might seem counterintuitive to stick to more conservative colors and designs when you’re trying to stand out, but you'll make a much stronger impression if you keep things a bit more muted. There will be plenty of time to break out the seersucker at a summer event, after you're hired.
A crisp white shirt and simple tie (aim for no more than two colors or an uncomplicated pattern) will give you a polished, professional look. Don't know how to tie a tie? Now is the time to learn. Fortunately, the Internet has no shortage of instructional videos to cover you here. Complete your look with an unadorned belt and matching shoes that are clean and well-shined. By all means, make sure your hair is cut, your face shaved or beard trimmed and your nails well groomed.
The day of your job interview is not the day to express your personal style, regardless of how fabulous it is. Like your male counterparts, the ideal interview attire is a well-tailored suit with a button-down blouse. There are many stylish silhouettes available to choose from in both the pant and skirt variety. Choose one that flatters your shape and that you feel good in. You'll want to invest in a high quality fabric in a low-key color — today is not the day to rock a pink Jackie O suit, even if it is Chanel.
You can dress up your look with a necklace or earrings, but it's advisable to keep things pretty reserved. Don't overdo it. Closed-toe shoes with a modest heel will pull everything together. If you're wearing a skirt, you'll want to wear stockings, regardless of the season. Your makeup, hair and nails should be clean, unfussy and uncomplicated. On the day of your job interview, less is more.
The best accessory to your interview attire is an air of confidence and enthusiasm for the job. And be absolutely certain to smile!
Have tips on how to dress for success? Share them in the comments section. Also, search the Robert Half Finance and Accounting blog for more job interview tips.