When going to a job interview, you are mostly focused on presenting your skills, education, past qualifications and enthusiasm. Still, although it might seem unfair to you, there is another thing the interviewers are paying attention to, and that is the way you’re dressed.
Your potential interviewers will form their first impression about you in seven seconds, and based on that they’ll decide whether you are trustworthy, high-status, smart, ambitious and adventurous. This is an impression made before you even get the time to talk about yourself.
Here is how to make those seven seconds work for you.
When in Doubt, Suit Up
You have probably heard about the adage “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have”.
A man in a suit will always leave an impression of ambitious and hardworking person and is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. This way, you will show the interviewer just how serious you are about getting the job.
The only thing you can do wrong here is to wear a suit that doesn’t fit you. You will leave an impression of unprofessional and lazy employee. If you can, opt for a tailored suit, and combine it with a pair of oxfords and a great haircut.
Be Casual, but Sharp
Do your research about the company you are applying for. Maybe they’re not that into formal corporate dress code.
In that case, you should look for some smart casual outfits such as trousers, tailored shirt and a well-fitted blazer.
As for the shoes, choose a more casual pair than oxfords, and less laid-back than sneakers, such as penny loafers, desert boots, chukkas, derby shoes, and Chelsea boots.
Of course, you have to make sure you don’t look too informal. Make the right balance between smart and casual by wearing just one or two really casual pieces.
A Creative Job Interview
Dressing for a creative job interview is much more than dusting off your favorite suit and treating yourself to a new tie.
You need to show the employer that you belong in the creative industry, but also that you are a responsible and trustworthy person.
It is always best to choose some striking separates and put them all together. Depending on the industry you want to work in, you can wear mismatched separates or even a mix of color and prints.
Wear a collared shirt to prove you are professional, and mismatched trousers and a blazer to show you are creative. Don’t go overboard with a freaky haircut, and tone down your creative expression with a sleek retro hairstyle.
Other Things that Can Make an Impact
Whichever style you choose to wear, you have to keep in mind that the colors and accessories could make or break the first impression of the interviewer.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, among human resource employees and hiring managers, blue is the best color to wear on an interview, while orange is by far the worst.
Each color is associated with a specific trait, where white means organizational skills, red is connected with power, grey with logical thinking, brown with dependency, and blue with team work.
Use accessories to make a style statement, especially with formal outfits where you don’t have much space to maneuver.
If you are going “by the book”, wear a belt that matches your shoes in color and texture. For a smart casual and creative look, put a belt in a brighter color or with a stylish buckle to add some drama to your outfit.
In the end, your best chance of getting the outfit right is to do thorough research about the company’s dress code and try to fit into it.
Peter is a men's grooming writer at HighStyleLife and TheBeardMag magazine from UK. Beside writing he worked as a menswear fashion stylist for many fashion events around UK & Europe! Follow Peter on Twitter for more men’s grooming tips.