You’ve landed the perfect job interview — congratulations! The next big step is making a great impression on your interviewer. He or she needs to know that you are THE woman (or man!) for the job.
Do Your Homework
One of the main elements of an interview is determining whether or not you fit the culture and climate of the company, and its structure. If you know someone who works there already, ask about the office dress code. If not, contact the receptionist and ask him or her politely. What you wear to an interview in the financial industry is probably going to look very different from what you wear to an interview in the creative industry. If all else fails, remember that it is always better to overdress than to underdress.
No jeans, no t-shirts, and no tennis shoes. Period. Be sure your attire is wrinkle-free and that there are no stains or snags. Invest in a lint roller, especially if you have a pet. Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes that are free of scuff marks. Yes, gentlemen, you DO need to polish your shoes. If there are loops in your pants (or skirt), be sure to wear a nice belt. And if you don’t already own one, it might also be wise to invest in a nice watch. As far as other accessories go, we will discuss those in a moment.
You don’t neccessarily have to pull that same old black suit out of your closet. Show your personality with some color! Choose a hue of blue that is conservative, but not boring. Or, choose a skirt-suit set with a little bit of texture. Pops of suttle color in your shoes or bag will also make you stand out. As long as your attire is tailored, modest, and business-professional, you will look put together.
When in Doubt
Gentlemen, if you are uncertain of whether the atmosphere is casual or not, your best bet is to wear a tie and bring a suit jacket. If you walk in and see that you don’t need to wear it, great. At least you came prepared. Ladies, less is more. Less makeup and less perfume* is far better than going overboard. It is also best to avoid flashy accessories. Ladies, choose a neutral nail polish color. A sensible pair of earrings, a necklace, or a bracelet will show that you have professional taste and sophistication. *Note: Some people are allergic to perfumes, so it might be best to skip the perfume (or the aftershave) altogether, unless you are certain the interviewer has no such allergy.
During the interview, the interviewer will observe not only your attire and what you are saying, but he or she will also pick up on physical cues. Display good posture, make eye contact, and remember to smile. A solid handshake is also essential. The steps of proper hygiene should also be followed. In addition to a shower, flossing, brushing, and mouth washing, remember to keep your hair neat and clean, as well as your nails trimmed.
Once you land the job, dress for the position you aspire to. If you would like to be an executive, dress like one. While it may be tempting to bend the rules with your peers, keep in mind that your job performance will not be the only thing management remembers about you when the time comes for a promotion.