There’s a lot to do to prepare for a big interview. The most important things you can focus on are, of course, your answers to the questions. You want to be ready for whatever questions come your way, armed with stories and examples that will demonstrate why you’re the best person for the job. Once you’re confident in what you’re going to say, you’re well-within reach of interview success.
Of course, once you’ve got the important stuff down, there are a few other things you should think about, too. The fact of the matter is, your interview starts as soon as you walk in the door, and everything from your eye contact to your smile could influence an employer’s hiring decision.
One big part of that: your outfit. What you’re wearing is going to make an immediate impression, so you want it to be a good one. Here are some of our best tips for dressing for success in your next interview.
When in doubt, dress up, not down.
Ultimately, you want to show that you’ll fit in with the company culture, and in some cases, the staff might wear jeans and t-shirts on the daily. More often than not, though, employers will expect some kind of work attire. If you’re absolutely sure that casual clothing is acceptable, then go for it. If there’s any doubt at all, lean toward the professional side of the spectrum. That means dress pants, a button up shirt, and a tie for men; and a professional, modest dress, or slacks and a blouse, for women.
Make it comfortable.
Dressing professionally doesn’t mean that you have to be miserable. Wear clothing—and especially shoes—that are comfortable and will remain comfortable throughout the interview. This means you should choose clothing that fits well, stays in place, and is breathable.
Go easy on the bling.
Large, distracting jewelry should probably not be worn to an interview. Depending on the company’s dress code, you may also want to remove piercings from places other than the ears. You don’t want anything detracting from what’s most important—your competence and qualifications.
Choose colors wisely.
Certain colors give off certain vibes. Blue is traditionally considered a calm, stable color, while red exudes power and energy. Even if you don’t give any weight to these meanings, you should still pay attention to the color you wear for a very simple reason: confidence. You know what colors you look and feel best in, so wearing those colors will help you feel more confident, which can make a big difference in your interview performance. Now is not the time to try something totally out of your comfort zone.
The temperature inside offices can vary widely, and you don’t want to find yourself too hot or too cold when it’s time for your interview. Bring a sweater or jacket so you’ll be prepared for any situation.
Bring along a briefcase, portfolio, or structured bag that can carry any papers and will keep you looking organized and professional.
A quick note about hair, makeup, and perfume: The key word to focus on here is undistracting. Style your hair so it stays out of your face. Keep makeup simple and natural looking. Avoid using perfume, since certain people react badly to strong or synthetic smells. You want your interviewer to be focused on what you say, not on how you look or smell.
Related: How to Make Your Resume Stand Out!
These tips are fairly simple, but they could make a big difference in helping you look and feel your absolute best for your interview. Good luck!
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