Make the Right First Impression: How to Dress for an Interview
Although we hope that our work ethic, experience and education shine through the moment we walk through the door, the reality is that our physical appearance is the first impression that we make during an interview. In the past, dressing for an interview meant suits and ties were the standard; however, with many companies today identifying as more casual, it can be hard to decide what is appropriate interview attire. The following tips will help you dress the part so that the interviewer visualizes you as a member of the company from the moment you walk through the door.
Research the Company
I can’t emphasize researching the company that you are applying for enough. Not only will you go into your interview knowing the clientele, products and services of the company, but you will also gain an understanding of the company’s culture. Researching the company’s culture through social media and the company’s website will give you a clue as to how you should dress for your interview. If they pride themselves on having a laid back and modern culture, wearing a suit and tie may lead the interviewer to think that you aren’t a good fit for the company. Conversely, if a company prides itself on being a fast paced and competition driven, chances are that a suit is the right choice.
Elevate your Attire
A wise man (my father) gave me a piece of fashion advice as I was preparing for my first interview. Although I don’t usually take fashion advice from my dad, as a successful business owner I figured he knew a thing or two about interviews and what an interviewer was looking for. He advised me to dress 1-2 levels above the job I was applying for. By dressing slightly more professional than the job you are applying for, you are showing the interviewer that you have good business etiquette, that you understand the nature of the job, and that you are taking the interview seriously.
Keep It Simple
Unless the job you are interviewing for is in the fashion industry, this is not the appropriate time to show off your latest trendy outfit; instead, dazzle the interviewer with your personality and accomplishments. Your goal should be keeping the interviewer’s attention on what you have to offer their company, so keeping jewelry, accessories, hair and makeup simple is essential to a successful first impression.
When in Doubt
If you are still struggling with what to wear, bring a suit jacket or blazer with you. If you arrive at your interview and are greeted at the door by an employee who is dressed more professionally than you, it is easy to throw on your suit jacket or blazer to appear more professional and a better fit for the company.
Making a good first impression can determine if you receive a job offer, so don’t underestimate the power of dressing appropriately for your interview.