What to wear: To a job interview

What to wear on a job interview... product details at bottom of page.

Ahh there aren’t too many things as unnerving as a job interview.  You have to make a good first impression, sell yourself throughout and make them believe the job has your name written all over it.  And all in the space of about 20 minutes – eek, alright!  What you wear to the interview is extremely important, as it will not only give off the first impression you are so hoping for, but if you feel comfortable and confident in your attire, you will be able to concentrate on telling them why you are the perfect person for the job.

Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when you’re planning your outfit:

– First of all, try and get an idea of the dress code “culture” of your potential workplace so you can make sure you can dress to fit in.  Ask your recruitment agent or phone the HR department and ask them specifically what the dress code is.  Alternatively, pop by the office during a lunch break or at the end of the day, and see what people are wearing as they exit the building.

– Generally speaking, the advice most recruiters tend to give is to dress a little better than what you would be wearing if you actually got the job.  It’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.  However, you also want to show that you will fit in with the rest of your co-workers if you are hired to work there, so keep this in mind (and make sure you follow our first tip!)

– Like it or not, research suggests skirt suits are still seen as more acceptable than trouser suits, especially in corporate environments.  If you are not usually a skirt-wearer, then it is up to you whether you want to sacrifice your usual style for the interview stage.  You can always switch back to trousers once you have the job in the bag!

– Keep it simple in neutral colours (black, grey or navy are classics) and avoid bold prints or fussy details which may distract the interviewer.   The same goes for revealing clothing – try not to wear anything too short or low-cut.  A safe skirt length is to knee-length, and should really be worn with a pair of (unladdered) stockings – bear in mind, a stylish sheer black pair of tights usually looks better than an opaque.

– If the job calls for very casual attire or is in a more creative industry, then you may want to rethink your outfit.  A suit might make you stand out – but not in a good way.  In this case, maybe swap your shirt for a more casual or fashion-forward blouse or replace your suit jacket with a basic cardigan.  Sometimes a nice pair of well-cut jeans in a dark wash is better, especially if you are going for a job in a casual retail environment.  If you are trying for a job in a creative industry such as design or fashion, then you may want to incorporate something a bit more “inspiring” into your outfit such as a bold coloured shoe or pretty brooch.

– Whatever you choose to wear, make sure your clothes are clean, freshly pressed and fit well.  If you haven’t had to interview for a while, then try on that “interview” outfit that’s been stashed at the back of the wardrobe to make sure it’s not too tight or too oversized.  If you try it on and this happens, then consider getting your clothes tailored or perhaps investing in some new garments.

– Shoes should be clean, polished (if they’re looking a little worn) and the heel shouldn’t be so high you can barely walk in them!  Make sure you wear something with a closed-toe too, especially if you are looking for a retail job or something in the food industry.

– Whichever handbag you choose to carry, make sure it is in good condition, clean and doesn’t clash with your outfit.

– Don’t wear too much jewellery – a nice watch, ring and a simple pair of studded earrings is more than enough.  Oversized earrings are a distraction, as are jangling bracelets or too many rings.

– Keep makeup understated and natural – neutral warm tones will look best.  Make sure your hair is clean and that it looks like you’ve spent a bit of time on grooming it – a slick ponytail or sleek chignon looks professional.  Don’t go overboard with the perfume and make sure you use a subtly-scented deodarant – especially if you’re interviewing on a hot summer’s day.

– Don’t underestimate the importance of well looked after nails!  It will be one of the first things your interviewer will see as they go to shake your hand.  Make sure they are clean, tidy and that there is no chipped polish.  Bare nails are best, but if you do want to wear polish, a natural or clear varnish is best.

Product details:

Warehouse slanted seam jacket, £70
BoBijou white pearl stud earrings, £15.99
Charles Tyrwhitt non-iron classic shirt, £34.95
Falke Anthracite semi-opaque sheer tights, £11 from Stylebop
Christian Louboutin New Decoltissimo 85 patent heels, £340 from Net-a-Porter
Narciso Rodriguez high-waisted pencil skirt, £490 from Net-a-Porter
Marc by Marc Jacobs Groovee handbag, £489 from Farfetch

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