You’ve created the perfect resume. It paints an ideal picture for your future employer. You’ve updated your LinkedIn, even created a Brand Me with a few extra success based additives. Your screening phone interview was as flawless as a conversation with an old friend. It’s now time to come face-to-face with the Hiring Manager in the interview and you have no idea what to wear. The interview is a critical component to sealing the deal for an offer.
It is at this point where the future employer determines where what you say you can do, can be done through a series of intentional questions. Questions designed to trip you up, tug on emotions and provide the opportunity to fill in blanks from your resume. Although your resume makes a first impression, your in person interview creates a lasting one. Here are a few wardrobe tips, some you have heard and others, no one will ever tell you:
Basic attire – Acceptable attire varies by position
Corporate interviews will always require a blazer, dress pant/skirt, collared, button up shirt, tie and dress shoe. The traditional pant colors apply (navy, grey, black and khaki). Shoe colors: brown, black, grey or navy. The blazer and shirts/blouses are where you have flexibility, within reason. Stay away from loud gaudy colors and prints. Avoid over accessorizing, less is more. A watch, small earrings (if applicable), and wedding band (if applicable) are acceptable. Of course, if your interview is taking place on a golf course, as they may, refer to appropriate golfing attire!
Interviewing with the opposite & same sex – this is traditional interview attire regardless to role
Blazer/cardigan/neither, dress pant/skirt, collared, button up and sleeved shirt/polo, tie and dress shoe in traditional colors. Shirts/blouses should be white or in the family. Nothing darker than a soft yellow or grey.
Shirts, pants and skirts should not be form fitting: no V-necks or low cuts. The intention is to impress with your neat, polished and clean presentation, not to entice. Do not distract your interviewer with your attire. The same applies for hair colors and styles. Neat, clean and crisp are always safest.
Avoid over accessorizing: wear a watch, small earrings (if applicable), and wedding band (if applicable).
Shoe heels should not exceed an inch, at most for women. Pumps are perfect!
Avoid perfumes and body washes: your interviewer may have an unknown allergy or sensitivity to the scent.
Cover any body markings and remove earrings from any visible piercings that are not the ear.
Avoid carrying visibly designer bags, briefcases and satchels.
You may ask yourself, why does it matter what I wear? The name on my bag or the scent I leave in a room? As humans, we possess conscious and subconscious biases. As an interviewee, your job is to present yourself as a qualified candidate.
As an interviewer, their role is to view your presentation according to the company need and culture. Do you fit? Can you perform the basic functions of the position? If anything is observed contrary to a YES to those two questions, you will be eliminated from the process.
Catherine McNeil has earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a focus in Management from Robert Morris College and holds a Master of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She excels at new employee training, instruction, supervision and job knowledge in the areas of Customer Service, Leadership, and Administration. She has over fifteen years of experience and applied knowledge from management and leadership roles inside the Collections, Not for Profit, Real Estate and Construction arenas.