The way we choose to dress is an important factor on a daily basis as it reflects how we feel about ourselves and shows how we would like to be perceived by others. This is no different when dressing for an interview. Your image and presentation immediately earns respect for you at an interview, before you’ve even said a word!
Needless to say, the way we dress has a considerable impact on individuals, and you must take this into consideration when attending an interview. You don’t need to look like you’ve just walked off the catwalk at London Fashion Week (in fact, that would probably be quite unsuitable!), but ensuring that your appearance is appropriate for the role you have applied for will similarly ensure that the interviewer has a positive first impression of you. They will also make a connection between your image and your ability – you excel in one area (image) then you are likely excel in others. The key is what is expected and what is acceptable – casual dress for an interview with a professional services firm, for example, is obviously an error which will make the interviewer question your judgment and in turn judge you.
For the creative world, these rules can be a little more relaxed, but even then remember that the image you want to convey is one of reliability, credibility, and manageability. Even Designers, for whom the rules are relaxed even further, should dress one or two steps up from their normal attire for an interview. It is important to bear in mind that some employers, be it a Creative Director or Head of Marketing, make a subconscious hiring decision within seconds of meeting a candidate, and spend the rest of the interview validating their initial impression. If your style does lean towards the adventurous, go for design consciousness and modern, but keep it understated. We’re not saying that you should quash your individuality, but with these stakes in mind, be sure your appearance is appropriate.
We say this because, although we don’t like to admit it, when meeting new people our mind automatically forms opinions and judgements based solely on appearance, and an interview situation is no different. We are not saying that this is fair, of course, but it is estimated that eight or nine out of ten employers will reject an unsuitably dressed applicant without a second thought! This strongly indicates that how you dress really does play a major part in being selected for a role.
When attending your first interview is it imperative that you dress to impress – a terrible cliché but in this case true. Not only will it positively influence potential employers, but it will also make you feel more confident in what is a very nerve-wracking situation and will allow you to shine throughout your interview. Dressing appropriately and correctly will demonstrate to your prospective employer that you are professional, capable, committed, and respectful; it will also signal to the interviewer that you respect their company’s culture, and care enough to expend the effort to make the right first impression. Of course, although you should dress professionally, you should remember to show your own personal flair – the person beneath the clothes should shine through too!
It can be difficult to decide how to dress for an interview, as there are no specific guidelines and certain industries require different dress codes. Our main suggestion is to keep it conservative and modern, and if you aren’t sure on the company’s dress code, then talk to your consultant – they will give you a good insight into the company’s culture, and an idea of the dress code that is expected. You can also look at a company’s website, search for photos employees, or utilise social media sites such as LinkedIn to connect with employees.
Remember that dressing correctly will give you an edge over the competition, and leave a favourable impression on potential employers. In fact, your overall appearance and presentation may even leave a more distinct impression than the words you say, as memory is rooted most strongly in pictures and impressions.
Essentially, your outfit can help you in conveying an image of reliability, trustworthiness, and honesty, while also cultivating a positive impression – it’s another tool in your job search, so use it well!