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Deciding on what to wear for an interview is often a very stressful part of getting a job. A successful job interview rests on asking and answering the right questions, a positive mindset, but also on your presentation as it’s going to be your first impression. A smart and sharp outfit will give you the edge and might convince the hiring manager to favor you above others.
The rules for a successful job interview attire differ in the business world. Some companies have strict dress codes while others tend to be a bit lax about what their employees wear. However, some of the basic rules that everyone should follow when applying for a job are written below. Read on to see some tips on what to wear depending on the job you are going to give an interview for.
Know the Dress Code
Before your job interview, spend some time researching the dress code for potential employment. One look at their website can let you know what to wear and what to avoid, so plan your dress accordingly.
Additionally, keep your desired role and position in mind. If you are trying to get a position at a finance or law firm, then strictly business attire is best; matching suit and tie for men, business dress, or a tailored suit for women.
Dressing in Interview Attire by Industry
Business attire is generally a mix of simple accents, comfortable and dark-colored shoes, and minimal accessories. However, it always depends on what industry you are looking to be a part of and what position you will interview for. Here are some expectations about work attire when it comes to different industries.
Full business attire requires you to look flawless. If you are applying for a job in a bank, finance, or law, then you are required to dress appropriately. Professional business attire is conservative, with neutral shades or darker tones and without anything too flashy. This goes for both, men and women. Choosing a fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily and refraining from wearing bright accessories is generally considered the right choice for professional attire.
For men, a blazer or suit jacket coupled with a dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes achieves a professional look. When it comes to women, a shirt or pantsuit with minimal accessories and high heels finishes a business attire perfectly.
Business attire goes well for professions that are a notch or two below a corporate environment. A government job, for example, doesn’t require you to dress strictly, but you cannot be flashy or over the top, either. Your presentation must communicate that you are reliable and responsible, so little conservative outfits are the right way to go. Though it is usually best to opt for limited or traditional jewelry, makeup, and accessories for women, a little color can give life to a monochromatic outfit.
The same rules apply to salesmen, managers, and food service staff. It is usually reserved for individuals who will interact with other professionals or clients during their workday. Presentation is crucial within the service industry, and though suits are not always mandatory, making a good impression is. Using clear judgment and sticking to business-appropriate attire will lead to success.
Tech firms have started to take over the business world in the past few years. If you are applying for a job in the technology sector, when choosing a business casual outfit will help you fit in. Tech companies are famous for leniency when it comes to dress codes. A collared shirt, slacks, or khaki pants will be perfect for your job interview. For women, a sweater or blouse with a pair of slacks or a shirt is considered an ideal outfit. However, having a good presentation, and being well-groomed and confident will give your look the edge it needs to get the job.
A business casual outfit also applies to factory staff, engineers, contractors, and mechanics. Furthermore, if you are applying for a job where you are expected to do manual labor, then you won’t have to wear anything too fancy if you do not want to. However, if you are upgrading and aiming for a higher position, then you dress in the best business attire you have to give yourself a good base.
Small Business Casual
Small business casual does not mean that you can wear floppy or wrinkled clothing, as they still specify what their staff can wear and what they must avoid. Even if you are applying for a job at a small business firm, you must avoid wearing stained or inappropriate clothing. Acceptable attire for a small business includes well-fitting jeans, khaki pants, and button-down shirts for men, or blouses for women. If you wish to apply for a private office or a salon, then wearing flats instead of heels and appropriate T-shirts with sneakers will work too.
Do a Final Check
Once you have chosen your outfit, do a final check. Wear it a few days before your interview to check for any areas that might need adjustment or repair. Look for holes, tears, or pet hair if you have one, there should be no imperfection on your interview outfit regardless of the industry.
What Not to Wear
Regardless of whether or not the company you are applying to is formal, there are certain things that you must avoid. Your mission is to make a good impression with your presentation and attire. Choosing something sloppy or offensive will reflect badly on your personality, and will overshadow your skills. So, here are a few things that you must not wear at any job interview you go to.
Flip-flops, Sandals, and Athletic Shoes
Just like ripped jeans or sweatpants, sandals, and flip-flops are too casual. While they are comfortable and relaxing, they are not professional and will reflect poorly on you. Sensible shoes that match y our outfit are considered acceptable. Flashy and distracting athletic footwear that clashes with your outfit will make you look unprofessional and you will be considered a wrong fit for the company.
Accessories should not be too flashy or distracting during an interview. This means that there should be no facial piercings, large jewelry, or strong colognes. If you have a wristwatch that has an activated alarm, then silence it before you enter the room for your interview. You wish to make a good impression, not distract the interviewer. Paired with good hygiene and minimal perfume, you can make an excellent impression during your interview.
Wearing earbuds, headphones, hats, and beanies does not result in a professional look. They are both distracting and off-putting and are considered rude. If you wear earbuds or headphones, you will be perceived as being uninterested in the position, which will work against you. The only exception to this rule is if you cover your head for religious reasons. Research the company culture before you decide on your outfit, as recruiters will consider your look during the process.
Whatever the dress code or formality level is set within the company, it will always benefit you to choose the dressier, more professional option. Though employers primarily focus on your skills, an elevated variation of the dress code will play well for you and help you make a great first impression. Each company is different but simple attire without any flashy additions, a well-groomed appearance and confidence is a great way to get off to a good start.
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