Looking the part

Dress sense in an interview. 

How we feel about ourselves and how we’d like to be perceived comes across in the way we dress, which is why it’s incredibly important you think about your interview outfit.

Although we don’t like to admit it, our mind automatically forms opinions based solely on appearance, and it’s no different when it comes to interviews. In fact, an estimated eight out of ten employers will turn down a poor or unsuitably-dressed applicant without a second thought.

Dressing appropriately demonstrates to a prospective employer that you’re credible.  It can also make you feel more self-assured when you sit down in front of them too.

The key to looking the part for interviews is to make sure your outfit is appropriate for the role that you’re being interviewed for.

Wearing casual clothes for an interview with a professional services firm where the working environment tends to be more formal (think ties, no shorts, blouses and suits) is obviously a no-no. On the flipside, a digital, creative or PR agency may be more open to the casual look, although this doesn’t mean that you should initially ever rock up wearing jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops. (It’s also worth noting here that most agency roles involve face-to-face client work, so you’ll be required to dress and act appropriately with more senior-level people too. Would they appreciate you wearing blue jeans or a tailored jacket to their meeting?)

You don’t need to look like you’ve just stepped off the catwalk at London Fashion Week…

A good rule of thumb is to keep your clothes calm, balanced and considered. Avoid loud and garish clothing and flash brand names. Always dress one or two steps up from your normal attire (even though the rules are a little more relaxed within the creative agency scene).

Don’t be afraid to show your personal flair, where possible, either. If your personal style is more adventurous, then it’s perfectly acceptable to go for a design-consciousness and modern outfit – just remember to keep it understated! Men – you can’t go far wrong with dark trousers, a clean, white or light blue shirt and nice jacket (and possibly a tie for non-agency roles) and girls – dark trousers, a blouse and a jacket, or a smart dress with a jacket, is perfectly acceptable too. (For more insight into the world of agency vs. client-side, visit, ‘Working agency or client-side?’.

Hiring decisions can be made within the first few minutes of an interview and dressing well signals that you’ve taken the time and effort to make the right first impression.

Of course, your actions and attitude are of equal importance, but your image can immediately earn you respect before you’ve even said a word! Employers will also make a connection between your image and your ability; if you excel in one area (image), you’re likely to excel in others.

Want more practical advice on looking the part for your next interview? Or perhaps you’d like us to line up your next interview for you? Get in touch with us today.

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