"As disagreeable as this may seem, your personal appearance will be judged by interviewers, as an expression of who you are and your approach to work."
As disagreeable as this may seem, your personal appearance will be judged by interviewers, as an expression of who you are and your approach to work. This isn't to say that your interview is a beauty parade; it just means that your clothes, hair, shoes, accessories etc can be seen as indicators of your status, personality, self-worth and style. It is therefore important to portray the "right image" when attending an interview, to make potential employers feel that you "look right" for the job. Interviewers should be able to visualise you as a member of their company, and your image should reassure them that you would be able to represent their business appropriately as a member of staff.
But how to know what to wear? Here are a few tips for interview attire:
Take a look at the website to see if there are any pictures of staff members. Take a look at what they are wearing and try to imitate their level of smartness. If there are no pictures, send the Manager or HR an email to ask what the company dress code is.
Ask around. If you know anyone currently working at your potential new job, ask them what they wear and how they suggest you should dress for your interview.
If these options do not work or are impossible to carry out, your third option is just to go for a smart, high-quality and preferably new outfit which fits you perfectly and you feel confident in. Aim for a "contemporary" rather than "classic" look, to show the interviewers that you would bring a modern vibe to the workplace. This is especially important for older candidates. Ask around in shops or research online what is "in trend" if you are unsure.
More traditional organisations are more likely to have a stricter dress code (e.g. law firms). In this case, dress as smart as possible to reinforce the idea that you could be "one of the company". More modern and smaller organisations are often more casual. For these companies, do not resort to jeans but wear something smart-casual, like a stylish dress and boots as opposed to heels, or black trousers instead of a suit.
For whatever the smartness of the company, make sure your clothes are clean, smell good and are free from pet hairs, deodorant marks, fraying hems and loose buttons. Accessorise well, with the contents of briefcases and handbags well-organised and presentable. Clean, non-greasy hair is a must, and men should try to arrive at the interview clean-shaven or have their beards/moustaches etc closely trimmed. Fresh breath, clean fingernails, shiny shoes and deodorant are especially important!
Best of luck for that interview, and remember, the better you feel you look, the more confident you will be!Kate, GRB Journalist