It seems absurd that anyone would come to a job interview in anything but professional attire. Interviewers have seen it all: people coming to a job interview in shorts and tank top, or a mustard-stained tie. What you wear is as much a reflection on you as the job listings in your resume.
Your dress shows two things: how you’ll dress if you’re hired and you’re professionalism. If you can’t manage to keep mustard off your tie, how can a job recruiter think that you’ll manage to keep a clean workspace? Clothes should demonstrate an attention to detail just like your resume. It is the one time that an interviewer is going to get to take a look at you, so be sure to make a good impression.
In some respects, this depends on the nature of the job. Certainly in recent years, the dress code has become more lax. In the past, no man would go without a suit and even a hat. In today’s workplace, casual Fridays may be week long. In a job interview for certain Internet companies, for example, the dress code will not be as strict as a job on Wall Street.
Unless you have a very good idea of the dress code, you should err on the side of caution. While a suit might not always be necessary, you should wear an ironed, button-down shirt, tucked into pressed slacks, with a belt. In some cases, wearing a suit can be a detriment: it will make the candidate look too much like a stuffed shirt.
In most cases, wearing a suit is advisable, even if it’s not the common dress code. A suit makes the man—so a suit can make a candidate look authoritative and upright. For women, it’s important to not wear anything to low-cut or provocative. Makeup should be understated as well. For both men and women, jewelry should be kept to a minimum.
At the same time, many candidates want to exhibit their particular flair for fashion—whether it’s a hairstyle, earrings, or daily dress. This mode of thinking is: if I can’t be who I am, then I don’t want this job. Fair enough, but don’t be surprised if you don’t get the job. Employers do like employees with a little personality, but there’s a line between showing off your style and being belligerent about your appearance. Most candidates are able to reach a happy medium: dress that shows of a certain style, while still being a bit more professional and understated.
For shoes, men should wear plain, unscuffed black shoes. Women should wear shoes with minimum heels. Fashion styles change so heels may become more common in the workplace. Generally, though, understated shoes are recommended.
Some other things to consider: anti-perspirent. It’s hard to look calm, cool, and collected when you have sweat stains under your arms. If you sweat a lot, you’re bound to sweat even more under the pressure of an interview. Breath freshener is also a very good idea. Anxiety is not great for breath and bad breath can make an interview downright unpleasant.
If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier behind it you almost don’t have to manage them. — Jack Welch
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