Dressing for a job interview

Have you gone back to work this January feeling like you should be in a different job? (note to my boss: I haven’t, honest.) Do you feel like it’s time to spread your wings, and break free from the shackles of your current job? Well, you’re in luck; the statistics say that January is one of the best times of the year to apply for a new job. So it’s time to polish up that CV. But in the search for your dream job there is an obstacle in your path, you’re going to have to face the unbridled horror of the job interview at least once or twice.

Research shows that interviewers know within the first 90 seconds whether they are going to hire someone or not. Meaning the whole interview could be a big waste of everyone’s time if you don’t make the right first impression. A firm handshake and solid eye contact is a good start, but did you know that your outfit can also be a deciding factor? They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but apparently the interviewers didn’t get the memo. Now I can’t tell you what your greatest weakness is, or how to effectively describe yourself in three words, but I can give you some tips on how to dress yourself in order to make a great first impression:

Dress for the job you want…

…not the job you have. You want to walk into that interview looking like you’ve already got the job. Try and go one level of smartness above what everyone else is wearing. If you’re interviewing at a casual office, a smart shirt and shoes will do. If you’re interviewing somewhere more formal, it won’t hurt your chances to put on a suit and tie.

The fact that you’ve dressed up a bit shows that you’ve considered your dress and made an effort. This will give the impression that you’re thoughtful and conscientious (before you open your mouth and ruin it…)


Your outfit should say something about you…

…but not scream for attention. Interviewers can be put off if you’re wearing bright or flashy colours, so keep that hot pink blazer to yourself until after you’ve signed the contracts. If you’re desperate for a pop of colour in your outfit, socks or accessories are a subtle, but effective, way to go.

Preparation is key

You should know what you’re going to wear in advance. The morning of a job interview can be stressful enough without having to put together a suitable outfit. Make sure what you’re wearing fits, and is clean. No one’s going to employ the guy with a coffee stain down his shirt.

Don’t forget to groom

You can be snappiest they’ve ever seen but if you turn up looking like Tom Hanks in Cast Away then you’re just wasting your time. It’s more likely that your CV includes the phrase “high level of attention to detail”, this should apply to your personal grooming as well.