When preparing for an interview what’s most important? Being prepared. You know the company’s culture and history; you are familiar with the position for which you are interviewing as well as the company’s larger projects and goals. Your clothing should be the least interesting thing about you, so don’t stress over it. Here are a few tips to keep what you wear in the background, so the hiring manager can focus on all you have to offer:
Do your homework.
Find out what the company’s dress code is. Ask someone you know who works there, check out the company website, looking for photos of office events. Be aware that various departments’ dress expectations may be different. If you’re unsure, always err on the side of overdressing. Dressing just slightly more formally than the everyday employee tells your interviewer you value the opportunity and know how to dress for the occasion.
Pay attention to neatness and fit.
Check the day before your interview that your chosen apparel is clean and in good repair — no missing buttons or stains. Be sure it fits you properly. If it’s your only suit, and it’s too small, figure out something else. Go with a blazer and a button-down instead. Remember to include your shoes in your inspection as well.
Keep it simple.
Remember, you want them to notice your skills and personality, not what you’re wearing. Avoid loud patterns, stick with subdued colors and save your novelty tie for another time. Go minimal with accessories such as jewelry, which can be distracting, and keep makeup simple and classic, avoiding bright eye shadows or lip color. Don’t use perfume. No matter how great you think the scent is, you can’t account for your interviewer’s olfactory preferences.
Update your style.
If it’s been a while since you’ve dressed for business, consider updating your wardrobe. Professional attire isn’t as subject to the whims of fashion as everyday wear, but if it’s been 10 years, you may be due for some new duds. If you’re on a tight budget, check out discount stores like Target, Old Navy or Marshall’s.
Whatever clothing you decide to wear, TRY IT ON WELL BEFOREHAND. You don’t want to find out your jacket’s too small, your shirt has a stain or those shoes don’t work with those pants right before your interview. Then, you’re stressed and frazzled going in, and that’s not a good look on anyone. Plan ahead, so you can forget about what’s on your back and focus on what’s in your head.
Sources: career builder.com, thebalancecareers.com