December 8, 2017
Congratulations! You submitted your resume, worked your network, and maybe even participated in a phone or video interview. Now it’s time to interview in person, and you want everything to go perfectly. Your qualifications and personal skills will certainly be vital to getting a job, but how you present yourself can make or break a job offer. No one wants to hire someone who looks sloppy or unprofessional, so make sure you are putting your best foot forward the second you step into that interview room.
Make a Strong First Impression
What you wear to an interview is essential to the interview process. You want to show your interviewer that you are taking it seriously and that you have a strong sense of professionalism. Ashlyn, a hiring expert from Worthington Industries, suggests that “when meeting someone for an interview, it is always better to overdress than to underdress. It will leave a lasting impression on the interview team, showing your professionalism and interest in the role.”1 When the interviewer is recalling you, you want them to think about your stellar resume or brilliant answers, not your wrinkled shirt or unprofessional dress.
Consider the Culture
In more traditional corporate environments, a suit is expected of interviewees; in more creative fields, a suit would typically make you look out of place. While you always want to err on the side of more formal, it doesn’t hurt to look into what dress code is generally accepted. Christianna, a hiring expert from BNY Mellon, says “Prior to an interview, consider researching the company and gather information on dress codes within the industry for a better understanding of how to dress for the interview.”2 By dressing to match a company’s dress code (or maybe a step up), you can show that you’ve done your research and are coming into the interview prepared.
When In Doubt, Ask!
It can be difficult to determine what is appropriate to wear to an interview, especially if you are told “business casual” or something equally vague. The last thing you want to do is show up dressed inappropriately; not only can it hurt your chances with the company, but you will likely feel uncomfortable and off your game. Stephanie, a hiring expert from AT&T, sums it up best: “It is always a good idea to ask the recruiter or hiring manager what is specifically meant [about the dress code] for their particular environment. We are all looking to do it right, and a well-framed question at the right time can ease the concern.”3 Many companies are moving to a business casual dress code, but that means something slightly different to everyone. By asking in advance, you can alleviate any stress you’re feeling about your outfit before the big day and focus on perfecting the rest of your interview.
While interviewing can definitely be a stressful process, getting dressed in the morning shouldn’t add to your anxiety. By doing a little bit of planning in advance, you can ensure the morning of your interview goes smoothly and you’re ready to impress!