No matter how cliche it may sound, you never do get a second chance to make a first impression. What you wear to an interview tells the person you are speaking with a lot about you. It demonstrates your decision making, and it helps them see how you will fit in amongst the rest of their team. The hiring manager knows that during an interview you are presenting your best version of yourself – so while there is some understanding for small faux pas, there are some generally accepted style expectations.
Here are some things to consider when deciding what to wear to your interview.
Casual & General Labor
Whether you are interviewing for a dishwashing job, general labor position, or a job in a warehouse, you still need to put your best foot forward. You want an employer to be focused entirely on what you say and your skills, not the wrinkly shirt, torn up pants, or unkempt hair and hygiene.
The most predominant style across the workforce would be described as business casual. This classification of attire creates a professional yet approachable image which is why it is commonly used in businesses. As long as you avoid jeans, tee-shirts, sneakers, and overdressing, you are likely hitting the mark.
There are still many industries that expect their team members to step-up their appearance by wearing the more traditional suit. This style conveys confidence, professionalism, and power. This is most popular in sales, finance, and executive positions.
There are times when the best approach is to show more of your creative side. Think of positions like marketing, high-tech firms, or innovative start-ups. These companies are looking for ingenuity, flair, excitement, creativity, and style. Forward-looking organizations want their teams to present a trendy vibe that matches the overall organizational image.
Don’t Overthink It
While we may have outlined some common acceptable style choices, it is important to not overthink it. Obsessing over how to dress may only cause you more anxiety about the process, and what matters most of all are the skills and qualifications you will bring to the job. If trying to paint yourself into a box is overwhelming, perhaps your best course of action is to focus on what things you should always avoid.
No matter how casual a position is, or how many amazing skills you bring to the table, there are some style choices that should always be avoided. Heavy make-up and cologne are two things we see regularly. You want to make sure all the attention is on what you say, not your appearance or smell. You also want to avoid coming across as if you don’t take the process seriously by being underdressed or not practicing proper hygiene.