Should you always dress to impress at a job interview?

You’ve been asked to interview for the job you’ve been hunting high and low for, and now you have to decide what you’re going to wear. It can seem tempting, if not essential, to reach for your trusty suit and shirt combo. But is this the right approach to be taking in today’s corporate climate of smart casual and dress down Fridays?

You probably don’t need a suit and tie for a laid-back company, but here are some top tips on deciding what to wear to a job interview.

Find a way to ask!

If you’re being sent via a recruiting agency, or you know someone that already works there – ask them what you should wear. Check any information sent in the interview letter as they sometimes specify what you should wear – especially if it’s a team based interview with activities.

Check out the website for their dress code

If the website doesn’t specify their dress code or work ‘culture’, have a look out for any photos of folk doing their jobs. What are they wearing? Obviously, don’t take the dress up for charity days as an example!

The one-up rule should come into play here. In an interview situation, you should be aiming to dress ‘one level up’ from what you’d be wearing whilst doing the job. That means a manual labourer is unlikely to be expected to show up in a formal business suit, but when suits are the norm you need to be getting formal with a three-piece.

Just like mirroring what they say along with their body language, mirroring their clothing style can work well in an interview. Enabling them to picture you in their work environment is the key.

There’s a difference between ‘casual’ and ‘trendy’

Sure, your current colleagues might say they love your peaches and cream themed apparel, but that’s because they already know you. A prospective new employer might not appreciate your ‘on trend’ look in a formal situation (especially if you end up outshining them)! So, tone it down a notch and aim for conservative casual

Dress for the camera!

It’s not unusual to have a ‘virtual interview’ these days, where you’ll be answering questions via video link on Skype, Zoom or similar. Don’t make the mistake that this allows you to dress less formally than you would meeting the interview team in person.

Bright whites and patterns can dazzle the camera making it difficult for people watching you pay attention to what you’re saying. So, choose calm, cool shades for your suit and make sure you’re wearing trousers (yes, some people have been caught out wearing just the top half!).

None of us like interviews and they can certainly be a stressful experience, so one of the best tips we can leave you with is to dress comfortably. Find a suit and shirt combination that you can move freely in, feels nice and doesn’t leave you in a sticky mess!

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