Dress for success: a guide to interview outfits

As though the anxiety of a job interview wasn’t enough, you also need to consider carefully what you’re going to wear! It’s not all about remembering tough question answers and memorising your CV, often your appearance is what gives your employer their first and lasting impression. Here is the ultimate guide to dressing to impress when it matters most…

The Casual Job Interview: Volunteering, Charity Work, and Unpaid Internships

Due to the nature of these jobs (they will either be unpaid or very low paying), it won’t be expected of you to dress in your formal best. It’s still courtesy and good form to be clean and well-presented however, so no ripped jeans or overbearing skin on show or trainers!

Women should expect to wear a dress with tights and a cardigan cover up, or smart chino style trousers. Footwear could be pumps or boots.

Men ought to be a little more careful when it comes to casual dressing as it can easily look messy. Try a long sleeved shirt or sweater with smart chino style trousers. Dress boots or brogues are an ideal footwear option.

The Business Casual Job Interview: Assessment Days, Initiation Workshops, Casual Fashion/Retail Work

If you’re interview invitation mentions a business casual dress code, that’s normally because it will be a more laid-back group environment rather than your typical one-on-one discussion. This type of interview or “get to know you” is becoming more popular as recruiters want a relaxed atmosphere. It is always best to dress smarter in these situations if you’re at all unsure.

Women can wear dresses that don’t need to be made of rigid suit material, or a casual blouse with smarter trousers.

Men should steer clear of polo shirts or jeans, as these are just too casual. Instead a pristine shirt matched with smart trousers (suit or otherwise) would look great.

The Professional Interview: Mostly All Traditional Jobs

If you’re ever in doubt how to dress for an interview, the answer is always Professional. Competition for most traditional jobs at all levels is extremely high and it’s best not to let your appearance fall down now.

Both women and men must wear suits. For women, the bottom half can consist of either a matching smart skirt or trousers depending what you find most comfortable. Ensure the skirt is no higher than the knee and any hosiery is ladder-free. Footwear could be either heels or smart flats. Men’s suits come in an array of colours and styles but a well-fitting dark suit is best. Wear dark socks to blend in with your outfit. Brogues or similar are a good choice of footwear, if in doubt choose black leather!

Want that job? Avoid these!

Employers will easily reel off a long list of faux pas they have seen at interviews! Certain things that come up often is too much makeup (depending on the industry), too much perfume or aftershave, and ill-fitting clothing. There is a fine line between looking well-maintained and overdone, as well as an understated smart appearance, and looking scrappy. It’s best to have a trial run of your outfit choice and ask those you trust to give it a once over before you wear it on the day. It’s also always best to iron any clothing the night before and leave to hang to keep things looking sharp.

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