Dressing Appropriately For Your Interview
Oct 29, 2014
I have written, posted and re-posted a few articles recently about preparing for your interview. In those I have talked about the importance of practicing the act of interviewing so that you will be better prepared when you walk into the room.
Today I want to touch on another piece of preparation…what you should wear.
Dress For Success
Several years ago, the NBA set up guidelines for their players in terms of what they should wear when on team or league business including things like post-game press conferences/interviews. For most high profile players, they have just come off the court after several hours of extreme physical exertion. All they want is a shower and a comfortable t-shirt and sweat pants before they head home for the night. But the rules state that when they go in front of the media, they must dress in “Business Casual attire whenever they are engaged in team or league business.” (NBA, 2005)
The NBA knows that the image of the brand is pivotal to its success and as such, has included this as one of many steps to ensure that there is a good brand presented to the public. The same goes for you putting your best face forward in an interview. You are your own personal brand and the image you present about that brand can either help you or hurt you.
Presenting a brand of a nicely fitting suit with matching shirt and tie will start moving you in the right direction as soon as the interviewer sees you. Conversely, wearing ripped clothing or clothes that don’t quite fit right may cause you to start losing points even before you open your mouth or shake hands.
What is Your Goal?
Remember, your goal in any job interview should be to land the job, or at least a second interview if there are several interview steps in the process. It is absolutely true what people say that you only get once chance to make a first impression.
While every company has its own definition of business casual or business attire, knowing your field and the type of business will help you dress for the interview. If the job is at any kind of professional company, you must wear and suit and tie (for men) or a dress and blouse (for women). For most entry level jobs, you should be able to get away with a nice pair of pants/skirt and a nice shirt but even if the job is one where you would wear a uniform or “work clothes” you should still plan on “dressing up” for the interview.
Don’t Forget the Hair
While not official part of your clothing, your hair style IS part of your dress. Make sure your hair is presentable and not still in the shape your pillow put it in last night. Don’t wear a mohawk unless you’re interviewing for the new drummer in a punk band. Make sure that you’ve had a recent trim and can adequately control your mop before heading into an interview.
What tips about interview dress have I forgotten? Do you have any that have worked for you in the past?