How to dress for a job interview

How to dress for a job interview

A complete guide, for men and women, with advice

about how to dress for a job interview according to what you want to communicate

More and more human resource specialists are advising you to spend as much time preparing your appearance for a job interview as you do on your resume.

The numbers back up this advice: 41% of employers recognize that those who dress professionally have a better chance of being promoted in their company and it has been found that you can earn 5% more per year simply by improving your wardrobe.

What is certain is that the clothes through which we choose to express ourselves have an undeniable semiotic charge that, in a context like a job interview, becomes even more important.

But what message – perhaps unnoticed – are we sending out with our clothes? How can we use this symbolism to our advantage?

How do you go dressed for a job interview to communicate that you’re really interested?

It is a common mistake to believe that there is a universal outfit to be interviewed, when the reality is that a suit at an informal job interview will absolutely play against you. Think about this:

  • If your boss was Mark Zuckerberg, would you go to the interview in a suit?
  • Would you go dressed as a young start-up or a large corporation?

Nothing expresses greater interest in the position than doing your homework and showing up for a job interview in an outfit that is in harmony with the company’s corporate culture.

To do this, you’ll need to research company etiquette when dressing, with social media being an invaluable source of those valuable behind-the-scenes photos that can provide you with a lot of information.

Studies show that most staff turnover is due to the fact that these workers do not fit into the company’s corporate culture other than a lack of skills or experience. Make sure you are communicating that you are ready to be “one of theirs.

How do you go dressed for a job interview to prove you’re responsible?

Those who dress more formally, studies suggest, are perceived as more disciplined and trustworthy. They also get more lucrative deals during their negotiations.

And that’s not where the surprises end. Research has shown that we are 3.5 times more likely to follow a man through a red light when he is wearing a suit.

When in doubt, and unless your previous research identifies a very relaxed corporate culture, always opt for more formal attire than you would wear in your day-to-day business.

How do you go dressed for a job interview to show attention to detail?

Make sure your clothes are clean and perfectly ironed. Stained or wrinkled clothing would ruin your perception of a professional who cares about details.

Also, don’t forget to select those pieces of clothing that fit you. A garment that doesn’t fit properly can make you look careless and will make you feel uncomfortable during the interview.

Because there is very little room for personal expression in such a formal situation, it is the details that will be sending a clear message about your attitude. Other things you should check are:

  • Personal hygiene. Hair and nails, among others, should be under control
  • Perfume must be kept to a minimum so as not to overwhelm the interviewer
  • The same with accessories, they should never divert attention from our capabilities

How do you go dressed for a job interview to show that you’re not afraid to take risks?

Experts recommend using a minimalist style that puts the emphasis on our professional skills. However, injecting certain traits of individuality into our look can catapult us towards success.

Participants in one study interpreted the man wearing a red bow tie as having a higher status and higher competence than the man simply wearing a black tie. This led the researchers to conclude that deviating slightly from social conventions suggests a sufficient control position to assume the “social cost” involved.

But watch out for excesses. A simple detail that breaks the monotony of the attire or a small differentiating accessory is enough to establish your individuality without appearing strident.

How do you go dressed for a job interview to exude authority vs. cordiality?

Do you want to communicate security, intelligence and authority? Does the job entail a service to the public and what you want to convey is closeness and cordiality? In that case you should use the lighter tones.

One colour to avoid is red. Red implies power in most cases and can be aggressive or contradictory in a situation where the baton is held by the interviewer.

When in doubt, the colour of blue is infallible. The concepts with which it is associated can be truly flattering in a job interview:

  • Knowledge
  • Integrity
  • Serenity
  • Creativity

Men: how to dress for a job interview

In the case of men, there are certain peculiarities that must be taken into account when choosing a picture for a job interview:

  • Opt for shirts in neutral tones. You can accentuate your individuality and add some contrast with a blazer containing some texture or even a tie in bright tones
  • Reduce your accessories to a minimum. A wedding ring (if applicable) and the watch should be the only accessories you present
  • The shoes should be as polished as your resume and be one tone, preferably neutral. Oxford type shoes are suitable for different degrees of formality
  • If you have a beard or moustache, it is advisable to give it a good going-over before the interview. A beard that is too long or sloppy can give the impression that you are not paying attention to detail
  • Hair should be presented as neatly as possible, whether it is short or long, and you should keep it at bay to present a clear face. A job interview is not the ideal time to experiment with a new haircut, and it can make you feel really insecure if the result is not what you expected
  • Unless the company’s dress code is deliberately informal, try to avoid jeans. Opt instead for “semi-dressed” trousers in the case of a casual business interview or for the suit itself if it is a very formal interview
  • Do you have difficulty identifying which garments to choose? In this explanatory video, fashion industry human resources expert Marat Chavtarayev offers examples of the three main looks for a job interview: suit, business casual and informal

Women: how to dress for a job interview

Women, on the other hand, tend to have more visual elements in their attire. These are some of the ones you should keep under scrutiny:

  • Will you be wearing a skirt or a dress? In that case, always choose to wear socks. If the interview takes place in a hot month, select summer socks whose color is close to your skin tone. Always carry a spare pair of socks in your bag as a precaution
  • Avoid very high heels, it could give your image a certain hardness. A closed shoe with a low heel is always a safe option
  • If you want to wear nail polish, go for the more neutral manicure shades
  • Leave in the wardrobe those stylistic elements that can distract from your professional skills: short skirts, striking prints, pronounced necklines, laceā€¦ The idea is that the focus is on your skills and not on your clothes
  • Introduce yourself with a hairstyle that keeps your face clear. It is recommended that you avoid bows, braids and hair accessories
  • The rule is clear: if you are in doubt as to whether or not the garment is appropriate for a job interview, do not wear it
  • Makeup can help you project a professional image. To do this, select the nude shades and avoid those make-ups that are more overloaded and eye-catching. It’s all about making you feel comfortable in your own skin so that you are able to defend your talent. Therefore, if you are not used to applying makeup, it is advisable not to do so on the day of the interview or to reduce it to a minimum.