Dressing for an interview has always been a tricky topic, especially since we realised that we're incredibly shallow creatures. In my experience as both an interviewer and an interviewee, I've seen the best of candidates fall foul of the vanity of employers, missing out on the job because of the way they look.
Discrimination acts explicitly make this illegal, but how can they prove it? Dressing to impress could be the most important thing you do in an interview.
In most fashions, understatement is a better choice. But the opposite is true for interviews, you'd come off much better if you turned up to a casual interview dressed to the nines than if you arrived at a suited boardroom of directors in your jeans and t-shirt. Consider your industry and as a general rule, try and dress for the role that you'll be performing. If you're going for an administration or office-based role, you'll want to consider formal, professional wear rather than the formal, dress wear you would opt for in a luxury hospitality position. However, this doesn't correlate all the way downward. If you were applying for a construction role, you wouldn't want to arrive at the interview in paint flecked jeans and a hard hat. If there's a chance that you think you're not dressed formally enough, you're probably not.
Hide any tattoos if possible and take out any piercings. There are very few positions in which outward expressions of rebellion will go in your favour. It's important to exude a clean and healthy appearance; after all you're probably being vetted by somebody who's going to be spending five days a week with you for the long term. Take time to make sure your hair is washed and styled, make-up not smudged or smeared and men will want to make sure they're clean shaved or well-trimmed.
So you nail the interview, and you start tomorrow; now what? If you were lucky enough to be given a tour of the workplace, you can base your attire on the other workers. But if not, you'll likely be given a very vague description like 'smart casual' or 'business wear,' leaving you fretting about your outfit. I know people who have been put in this position and have simply loitered near their workplace and waited for people to leave, taking note of what they are wearing. But if this is something you don't feel like doing, you can take comfort in the fact that this is much easier than the interview.
The best tip I can give you if to leave your options open, it's quite easy to construct an outfit that can easily be changed. Men will want to arrive in trousers, shoes and shirt but with a tie and jacket in case. If the other workers are suited, you can simply pop them on. Women will want to wear a skirt, blouse and flat shoes; you might want to take tights, heels and a jacket. You should have all your bases covered if you prepare well enough, being unsure of your outfit could play on your mind and you want to be fully focused for your first day of work.
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