So, you’ve impressed on paper, your interview is confirmed, and now it’s time to shine in person. With a few days or weeks to go, most people’s thoughts turn to interview questions or presentation briefs. However, interview preparation extends beyond what you plan to say or how you will deliver your message. Throughout an interview all eyes will be on you, so it is important to look and feel your best.
Psychology studies have shown that it takes just one-tenth of a second for a person to judge someone and form a first impression. Whether you are comfortable with this aspect of human nature or not, it is better to recognise this reality. With so many factors to potentially influence an interview’s outcome, why take any risk? Your appearance and what you wear to an interview can reveal a lot about you. A well-chosen outfit and a polished look will convey desirable professional qualities before the first question is even answered. To help you use this to your advantage, InterviewFit has put together this guide:
Whether officially defined or not, all businesses have an internal culture, which is partly influenced by their specific sector. Suits are still essential uniform in the City, whilst a dress down approach is common in creative environments. Do some homework and find out the company’s dress code, then aim for a smarter version. A person’s cultural fit is as important to a hiring decision as their skills and experience. During an interview the interviewer will be asking themselves, “Can I see this person as part of our team?” By emulating their dress code, you will help the interviewer to picture you in their organisation.
If in any doubt, it’s always better to ‘over dress’ for an interview, not in an elaborative way, but in terms of smartness. Your outfit needs to feel appropriate and demonstrate respect for the interview process. Don’t, however, go to the other extreme: a three-piece pinstripe won’t endear you to casually dressed design director!
Never use interview clothing to hint at your personality’s fun side, keep those hilarious Christmas socks for home. Bright colours and busy patterns are unwanted distractions in an interview and very much personal taste. Make sure that you stand out for all the right reasons. Your interview content needs to be memorable, not your bold personal style.
If you have a long-standing tried and tested interview outfit, make sure that you try it on in advance for current fit. Give yourself time to pick a plan B, make a shopping trip or visit the dry cleaners. If you have any reservations, get a second opinion. Ask for an honest opinion and constructive feedback.
Whilst looking smart, it’s vital that you are also comfortable. No-one wants to feel self-conscious wearing something tight or be flustered and too warm. Your outfit needs to make you feel calm and confident and allow you to fully concentrate on the interview itself.
With a perfectly pitched interview outfit you will be in a strong position at the start of your interview.
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