Dressing Right for the Interview
Looks can be deceiving, but there is one area where this rule may not apply – the job interview. What a person wears and how they look can instantly convey their appropriateness for a company, whether done consciously or subconsciously.
Establishing rapport and sharing past accomplishments are important, especially when applying for leadership positions. Often, higher-level positions require multiple interviews with different parts of an organization. But this also creates increased pressure for candidates to dress appropriately.
Know the culture
Companies may have different dress-codes for employees and managers. Where employees can wear polo shirts or dress shirts, higher-ups should be a little more formal. Some companies throw the style playbook out entirely. The Fiscal Times reports business casual company Urban Planet Mobile has a pro-jeans philosophy, and candidates showing up in full suits are told to relax.
Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes
Monster.com’s Career Advice suggests looking at yourself in the mirror the night before and imagining how you could be judged on appearance. Even if you may think a wrinkly shirt tells the world you’re too important to iron, your interviewer may conclude you don’t care. If you decide to wear a tie, practice tying it the night before. ToTieatie.com suggests larger, symmetrical knots and dark colors are winning interview combos.
Skip the sexy
While women might think showing cleavage or lots of leg can add sex appeal, it could be distracting or seen as unprofessional to interviewers. Likewise, while men may consider an unshaven look mysterious and alluring, it may also show interviewers you don’t care enough to look your best.
Look the part
Columbus Technical College’s Career site suggests that you dress like you would for a typical day in that position, so imagine that you’re already the CEO deciding what to wear. This can give you a boost in confidence to feel like you not only belong but are prepared to get things done.
Don’t be remembered by what you wear
Instead, wow them with what you have to say. Interviewers suggest initially avoiding anything to draw attention to your appearance, even if it shows a little flair. Cover up tattoos, bring the subtle handbag instead of the bright purse, and don’t wear a favorite perfume. Instead, as Deborah Sweeney, a CEO and contributor for Forbes, suggests, candidates should focus on learning about the company and sharing how they can deliver results.
Pay attention to accessories
Are your earrings discreet or big and jangly? (Discreet is better). Do you have multiple necklaces and bracelets or only a small chain? (Discreet, remember) Did you pick stylish, yet conservative shoes? (Skip the sexy, strappy pumps.)
Do your homework
Redfish Technology, nationwide high tech recruiters, suggests you should ask the interviewer or recruiter about dress code, style and culture before you show up. Whether you’re interviewing to be the next CEO, part of the C-Suite, or any other position, consider this part of your research.
About the Author: Randy Reed
Randy is a former HR director for a large, multinational corporation. These days he blogs and gardens to keep himself busy.