Dressing for a job interview shouldn’t be that difficult. We do manage to clothe ourselves every day, after all. However, the infrequent nature of job interviews means many of us have come a cropper with an outfit-based interview faux pas.
Whether it’s turning up at a casual office in formalwear, or wearing jeans to an interview with a law firm, candidates are constantly finding ways to mess up seemingly the simplest of tasks.
We’ll stop short of telling you an exact outfit to wear for a job interview - you’re not zombie clones, after all - but read on to find the top tips we’ve picked up over the years that will help you take the stress out of interview attire.
Context is everything A suit (of the male or female variety) isn’t appropriate for every interview. It might impress at a law firm, but it could seem stiff and out of place at a digital or new media company. Making your outfit industry-appropriate is our top tip. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as most of you will be applying for roles similar to your current job anyway, but if you’re changing industries it’s important to research what “interview appropriate” means in that new environment.
Level up the formality
You don’t want to go overboard, but it’s important to show that you understand the formality of an interview, while also appreciating the ebb and flow of the business you want to work for. Think about what you’d wear day-to-day should you get the job, and trade each element of your outfit up a notch in the formality stakes. For example, if everyone wears jeans and a tee, trade up to a shirt, chinos and a crewneck jumper. This will show the employer you understand what they’re about while paying the interview process itself the respect it deserves.
Do your research If you’re still struggling to visualise the perfect outfit for that particular role, take a look through the business’ social media profiles. More often than not, the brand’s channels will feature shots of current employees in the workplace, giving you the ideal appropriateness reference point.
Do your laundry Don’t go to the trouble of preparing the ideal outfit only to realise when you’re waiting in reception that your trousers have a huge ketchup stain down the front. Such carelessness will not be well-received by the employer and can bring your attention to detail into question. If possible, lay out your outfit two nights before the interview, give each item a good inspection, and try everything on. That way, you’ll still have a day to get things washed or buy replacements as necessary.
If all else fails, just relax, wear what makes you feel comfortable (within reason) and you’ll be fine.