I have always found it hard to know exactly what to wear to a job interview… While it shouldn’t be about what you look like, first impressions do count and people can tell a lot by how you present yourself to the world.
It’s stressful enough preparing to interview for a new job, especially if it’s one you really want, without having the added issue of finding the perfect “you need me to work for you” outfit. You don’t want to look too formal, like you’re about to walk in and take over the place, but there is always the fear that you will be under-dressed!
So before we break it down into categories (Corporate, Creative, Casual) – here are a few things everyone should take note of no matter what kind of job you’re applying for:
- Always be neat and clean – that means washed hair, no chipped nails, ironed clothes and no scuffed shoes.
- Keep hair simple and tidy – up in a neat bun or ponytail is always a winner & if you want to wear it down think simple and straight or loose waves, nothing too big or over the top!
- Makeup should be barely there, and stick to neutral tones. (If going for a creative tones a pop of lip colour may be ok – but for corporate keep it plain)
- Keep any tattoos or piercings hidden (unless your a tattoo artist)
- Make sure your outfit fit’s well and there aren’t any loose seams or alterations needed.
- Do your research, talk to someone inside the organization, or the recruitment agency if applicable, to find out what the generally accepted office attire for staff is, this will serve as a guideline when choosing your outfit.
OK now lets break it down…
Always be understated when going for an interview for a corporate position. You can be stylish (note style not fashion) but keep it simple. You want personality and experience to leave an impression not your shoes.
A well-fitting block colour shirt, paired with a pant suit, is a good place to start. Either slim fitting cropped trousers or wide leg pants suit most body types and keeps it fresh and modern. Skirt suits are also an option, but unless they’re the right cut for your body they can look outdated. Regardless of what you decide on the suit front you should always wear a blazer. Keep colour’s in a neutral palette, think black, navy or grey. Nude or black pumps never fail but keep the heel moderate, and finally jewellery should be delicate.
Whether your going for a graphic design position or one in the fashion industry, an interview within a creative company or industry give’s you a little more freedom to show your style. However, remember it should be a nod to fashion NOT a fashion victim.
For silhouettes it doesn’t hurt to stick to the shapes mentioned above, but play around with colours and patterns. Also depending on how formal the company you could replace the shirt with a silk tee or vest. A conservative shift dress, knee-length or just above is also generally appropriate.
You can also have a little more fun with your shoes, especially if it’s a fashion job, as you need to show you have a grasp on current trends.
When I refer to a “casual interview” generally it means for a retail or hospitality job. For this type of interview you still want to look presentable, but also like you fit right into the vibe of the store/ venue.
Unless you are interviewing for General Pants (actually not even then) it’s not acceptable to turn up in thongs and denim cut offs – you want to look prepared and ready, not like you just stumbled up from the beach.
Dark Jeans with a clean pressed tee/ or top is a good place to start.
Finally here are some things to always avoid…
- Plunging necklines
- Too much skin
- Body con/ anything overtly tight
- beach wear
- denim cut-offs