Have you ever heard of a line that goes “appearances don’t matter”? Don’t suck in to it because in the job market, they apparently do. One of the most essential aspects when looking for a job is knowing what to wear if you are scheduled for an interview.
First impressions matter. There is a reason why such an adage has weathered the test of time. When looking for employment, first impressions can give you the leverage you need to nail that position, or zap your hopes of getting employed. Many business insiders and job search experts subscribe to the philosophy “you are what you wear”. This is because how you dress up in certain situations tells so much about your personality.
Kim Zoller of Image Dynamics, a business consultation firm, once said that 55% of another individual’s perception of you depends on how you present yourself in terms of clothing.
Social mores do not require you to wear a tie and a suit when you go to a grocery. But you need to don something respectable and professional when you meet with an interviewer. That’s because coming in wearing a t-shirt and jeans is never going to work. It is important to point that dressing properly and professionally alone will not get you the job. But it will give you the edge in terms of creating positive first impressions.
According to renowned American anthropologist Herbert Harold Vreeland, “clothes don’t make the man, but clothes have got many a man a good job.”
And that has almost always been the case.
“There is a message in the way you dress.”
For Bradley Richardson, a career expert and managing partner at recruiting firm Kaye/Bassman International, how you dress coveys a message to everyone around you. A salesman who is neatly dressed with slacks, pressed button shirt, and tie is likely close to sealing a deal compared to a seller who is clad in a sweat suit.
Richardson explains that while skills are important, he would likely boot people who are not appropriately dressed “because their appearance was inconsistent with their message of professionalism and success.”
“You won’t find me on the cover of GQ anytime soon, but I try to appear tastefully current and professional,” says Richardson.
Bottom line, according to Richardson, is that people will take you very seriously if you know how to dress appropriately. You can go to a mechanic wearing a high class suit and tie. But even if you have extensive knowledge about cars, the man will have a hard time believing what you say if you look like someone who never touched a gas pump in his whole life.
Dress code for men
Wearing a suit and ties is the safest and smartest choice for men. In a post in AskMen.com, the universal dress code for a man scheduled for a job interview is a navy or gray traditional three-button single-breasted suit paired with a white long-sleeve, button-down dress shirt and a conventional silk tie. It is encouraged that you pair your attire with clean and polished dress shoes, preferably black.
It is also recommended that you do not put on too much jewelry and strong cologne on you once you go to the interview. Also, while most companies do not have strict regulations about hairstyle and facial hair, it makes sense that you go to an interview properly groomed and shaved.
Dress code for women
In a corporate setting, women should always go for a conservative business suit. This could mean wearing a professional suit paired with a knee-length skirt or pants with a straight leg and classic fit. It is advised that women go for neutral colors as they go well with a white blouse. If you will be interviewed in an informal office a pant suit and a sweater is an excellent option.
Women should also be picky with their shoes. When going to job interviews, the usual choice is closed-toe shoes. However, depending on the interview location, you can also wear pumps or loafers.
Female job seekers must avoid tight sweaters, sloppy overalls, and miniskirts. Wearing sandals with straps is also discouraged. Jewelry, make up, and other accessories should also be at the minimal. Nose rings and multiple earrings are a no-no. Also, perfume should also be toned down. Your goal is to look great, not to scare your interviewer away.
To complete your look, you can bring a briefcase and a nice scarf. That means you should leave your big handbag at home.
If unsure, then be conservative
Alison Doyle, a job search expert and career consultant, echoes a rule many business people adhere to when it comes to dressing up for a job interview: if you are not sure what to wear, then it’s best to be overdressed than under dressed.
“If you’re in doubt about how to dress for an interview, it is best to err on the side of conservatism,” says Doyle.