What you wear at a job interview is important because a book IS judged by its cover! Sure, it’s not right. A book should be judged by its contents.
But it isn’t. Your opinion of a book is already half-formed when you look at the cover. So you must pay attention to interview attire. That’s why you need to plan it thoughtfully in advance.
The interviewer’s impression depends on the extent to which your clothes are appropriate to the occasion. That’s the basic fact about interview attire.
Here’s a simple way to determine what your attire should be. Find out what people in that industry or profession are wearing and dress slightly more conservatively than them. That way, you are almost always safe.
This is the easiest way to decide what to wear for a job interview. Of course, whatever you choose to wear must suit you as a person.
Now, what is considered appropriate attire depends on the kind of job that you target. If you are an archaeologist who is interviewing with a senior archaeologist in a field where he is doing excavation, you might well dress in a casual fashion.
If you are trying to get hired as a business development manager with a large multinational firm, then of course, you would probably dress in a very formal fashion, in a suit.
Your dressing should be appropriate to the level or position that you are trying to get, keeping in mind the norms of the industry. In particular, if you aspire for a job at a higher level that you are currently, your dressing and outer demeanor has to reflect what is appropriate for the new position.
In general, you may be better off maintaining a formal wardrobe of high quality, somewhat expensive clothes which you use only for special purposes like interviews than buying relatively cheap clothing in large numbers.
The latter is of course, fine for your casual, everyday wear wardrobe. This is about your special purpose wardrobe in a situation where you need to conserve cash and yet look terrific.
In fact, you can have just a couple of good suits and vary the tie, shirt and other accessories to give them a different look at different times.
Conservative, old time industries like banking, consulting, law and many areas of business require you to dress in a sober fashion, with subtle, understated colors.
Other industries like entertainment, advertising, technology, etc permit the use of bolder, more casual colors as well as dressing. But an interview is never an occasion for sloppy dressing or for overly flashy dressing.
If you’re not comfortable with formal interview attire, take the effort to dress formally several times before the interview. Perhaps you can go to a wedding or other social function in formal wear.
If you have purchased a new suit or dress, wear it on at least one occasion before the interview. You must not be uncomfortable or feel stifled when appearing for the interview.
For men, a clean, white shirt is often the best bet. If you wear a jacket or a suit, ensure that the sleeves are long enough – it looks odd to have too much of your shirtsleeve sticking out. And wear your jacket without a gap between the back of your neck and the jacket collar.
Apart from dress, pay close attention to your personal grooming. Everything from neat hair to cut nails to being on guard against body odor and bad breath is important.
Do you know that people sometimes lose jobs because the interviewers can’t stand the bad breath or body odor? There are plenty of good products available in the market which can neutralize both problems, so there should be no excuse for not using them.