If you’re on the prowl for a job, you know just how important it is to nail that first interview. For one, there’s the substance — you need to know about the background of the company, the technical skills for the job, and your personal qualifications. But perhaps more importantly, you have one split second to make a good first impression with the way you look. From your hair to your outfit to your shoes, making sure you look the part is crucial to setting the tone for the rest of the interview.
Firstly, as the old saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness. If you show up with wrinkled, stained, or otherwise unkempt clothing, the interviewer will make assumptions about your work ethic and your ability to prepare for important meetings. Ensure that your clothing smells fresh and is properly ironed. Completely avoid clothing with stains, runs, or frays on the edges. You may also want to take your shoes to a shoe shine or shine them up yourself. Attention to details is key here.
Make sure your clothing fits your comfortably. If you haven’t been on a job interview in a while, you may break out an old outfits that may be a little to snug, gap at the buttons, and simply don’t fit the way they once did. Interviewers will be able to zero in on people who haven’t given the interview 100% of their effort, so it’s important to make sure your clothes fit your body the way it is now. Oversized blazers or tough-to-button pants demonstrate that you haven’t properly prepared for this appointment.
You’ll also not want to overwhelm with your wardrobe palette. As important as it is to have fun and be yourself, consider the context of your interviews. It’s usually a safe bet to choose greys, navys, blacks, and creams. Naturally, if you’re applying to be a graphic designer, you could opt for something a little more creative with a pop of color or some fashionable statement pieces of jewelry, but for the vast majority of jobs, opt for something sleek and subtle.
Make sure you feel good. If you’re in tight shoes or your blazer is scratchy, you’ll be distracted during the interview and fail to put your best foot forward. As important as aesthetics are, your personal comfort goes a long way in making you feel your best.
The overall goal of all these tips and tricks is to demonstrate engagement and interest. A recent CNBC article noted that of all the things that can derail and ruin an interview, the number one way to sabotage an interview is to display low energy. Interviewers sift through hundreds of resumes and chose you as one of the finalists, and for them not to see you excited about learning about the job can turn them off quickly. In addition to practicing good posture and manners, your outfit needs to demonstrate that you’re eager to engage with the interviewer and take this appointment seriously.