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Stress and job interviews go hand in hand. When the time comes, you have enough on your mind without worrying that your outfit is wrong. Yet, your image is the first thing an employer will notice about you, even before you say hello. And, it will be permanently embedded in their mind.

Think About Your Professional Image

What you wear on an interview is not the same as the outfit or “look” you choose for personal or social occasions. To ensure that you get your outfit right, begin by clearly separating the two. You can have a closetful of fun, edgy clothing at home, but when interview day rolls around, leave it there.

  • Your attire should either match or slightly exceed the type and quality worn by your interviewers. Even if you know a company has a casual work atmosphere, be careful not to dress it down too much.
  • Get a feel for company dress code in advance. Ask someone you know who works there, or check out photos on the company website.
  • Try it all on ahead of time. An hour before your appointment is not when you want to find out your suit is too tight or those awesome new shoes don’t fit.

Interview Attire No No’s

When you show up for an interview, you’re there to put your best foot forward, not create a distraction. The focus should be on you, your qualifications, and how you would be the best fit for the job. When you arrive, your interviewers should form a positive first impression of your appearance within less than 30 seconds. Then, things can progress from there.

Here’s a checklist of what not to wear:

  • Risqué or overly bright clothing: Stick to conservative colors. An investment in one good, classic suit is smart, because it will never go out of style. And if you have it ready to go in your closet, you’ll be all set when an unexpected interview opportunity comes along.
  • The wrong clothing or footwear: This includes flip flops, sandals or sneakers, shorts, jeans, skirts that are too short, blouses that are cropped or low-cut, pants that are too tight or low-rise, and any undergarments that show outside your clothing.
  • Strong scents: Scent is one of the strongest senses. Many experts say they wouldn’t hire anyone whose perfume or cologne they could smell from across the room – or even the desk or conference table.
  • Tattoos or piercings: While many employers are lightening up on this, it’s probably a good idea to cover your ink and remove your rings. As is true with your entire outfit, err on the side of conservativism.
  • Accessories: This is not the time to make a statement, try to be funny, or “bedazzle.” Ladies: No big hoop or chandelier earrings or flashy necklaces. And stick to neutral, light makeup. Gentlemen: Be subtle about your cuff links, tie clip, belts and rings. And absolutely leave your novelty ties at home. A pattern with traditional colors is okay, but if it even hints at tacky, it’s off the list.

Your interview appearance is just one aspect of your job search. Let the experienced consultants at TRC Professional Solutions work with you on this and all the other steps toward landing the position of your dreams. Contact us today so we can talk about your success strategy.


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