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How to dress to impress for an interview

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Lizzie Tasker Tips, Interviews, Job Search...

We can all agree that interviews are nerve-wracking enough without having to contend with any outfit worries!  First impressions count, and like it or not, your interviewer will form an initial judgement based on how you look, so by following our simple guidance on how to tackle that ‘what to wear?’ conundrum we hope you’re able to feel your best when you step into the interview room!

Whether it’s a formal interview or a relaxed and informal chat, the same consideration and effort should be made when selecting your outfit.   In most cases, it’s unlikely an interview will be the best place to test out the latest fashion trends; aim for a look which is classic, conservative and comfortable.

Even if your new potential employer takes a casual approach to business dress, it’s usually best to stick to professional attire for an interview. If you’re unsure, choose smart over casual; you’re unlikely to be marked down for being too smart.  Or, if you’re still in doubt over the dress code; just ask.

For men, a suit is usually the best option. Your interview suit should fit well and be in a traditional colour (black, navy or grey). A smart suit doesn’t have to cost the earth; there’s plenty of choice on the high street, and look at it as an investment.  A tie is essential, choose something that compliments your suit and shirt, and ensure your shoes are polished for the occasion.  Pay attention to the smaller details; avoid brightly coloured or novelty socks! Aside from your outfit, it’s important to either be clean shaven or have well-groomed facial hair, nails should be clean and trimmed and avoid overdoing the aftershave.  If you do have the go-ahead for a more casual outfit, smart chinos and a shirt will work well.

For women, a tailored dress, skirt or pair of trousers can be elevated by the addition of a tailored blazer. If choosing a skirt or dress, make sure it’s not so fitted that you can’t sit or move around comfortably, and that it’s not too short; especially when you sit down.  If you have to question whether something is inappropriate or too short, it probably is! Stay away from bright colours, animal prints or anything sheer or low-cut.  A classic court shoe, low heeled ankle boot or smart pump are usually the best choices for an interview, ensuring they are clean and smart.  Think about your overall look, including accessories, hair, nails and makeup, avoiding anything too garish or unusual.  Fashion doesn’t have to go out of the window, just think more Kate Middleton than Kim Kardashian.

Whatever you decide to wear, get it ready the night before and make sure you’ve tried it on in advance; the last thing you need is to discover a missing button or broken zip on the morning of the interview which could lead to an outfit malfunction! Whilst your outfit is an expression of your personality, you want to be remembered by the interviewer for the right reasons i.e. why you’re perfect for the job!

Don’t underestimate the impact the right outfit can have on your overall mood and confidence, when you know you look good, you feel good and this can only help you in an interview situation.