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Dressing for an interview: How to get it right

27 Apr
Research has shown that first impressions of a person are usually established within the first thirty seconds of meeting them. So before you have even introduced yourself to your interviewer, they will already be making their own judgements – this includes on how you’re presented.

What you wear and how you present yourself will make an impression that you can’t take back. The interviewer will decide very quickly if they don’t want to hire you; deciding if they do will take longer.

With that in mind, take a look at some of our insider tips on how best to present yourself in your next interview.



If in doubt, dress up

Firstly, no matter how you dress in your day-to-day life, for interviews you should always dress in a way that is professionally appropriate for the position and the company that you are applying for. If you're not sure what's appropriate, dress slightly more formally than you think you need too. In an interview situation it is better to be overdressed than underdressed, as a too-casual outfit but lead the interviewer to assume that you have a more casual attitude towards work and authority, as well as indicating a lack of understanding of business etiquette. Err on the side of caution and dress up rather than down, regardless of the company dress code.

Keep it clean

Always ensure that you, and your clothes, are both clean and neat. Check clothes for any stains, holes or marks before leaving the house. You too should be clean and tidy, from your nails to your hair, your teeth and your shoes. Limit the amount of aftershave or perfume that you put on - you don’t want to overpower the interviewer. Similarly, try not to smoke before the interview or eat anything particularly pungent. Never go into an interview chewing gum but do brush your teeth or chew on a breath mint before you arrive.

Dress to impress

The working world, across the board, has become less and less conservative in its dress code. But as an interviewee, you are still trying to impress. It doesn’t matter what you think might be appropriate; what matters is what the person hiring you thinks of you. You may only get one chance to impress them so make it count.

For men, this can mean wearing a suit. Try to avoid loud colours and flashy ties – you are trying to look professional rather than draw attention to your outfit. Jeans are also best avoided, as are more holiday-appropriate trousers and shirts. To a certain extent, use your common sense and if the outfit you’ve chosen is more commonly worn on a Saturday evening or for a day at the beach, it probably isn’t suitable for an interview situation.

For women, dressing for an interview tends to be more complicated and varied, but try to remain modest in your dress. You want to be treated professionally so dress as such. Try to avoid anything that is too tight, low cut or short or that you feel uncomfortable wearing. Stick to business professional attire. This might mean a smart skirt and blouse, tailored dress or trouser suit.

When in doubt, bring a jacket which you can throw on if you need to look smarter or simply carry, if you feel like you want to look more casual.

Check the company policy

If you’re unsure how smartly you should dress for your interview, ask your recruiter or the HR coordinator you spoke to to secure the interview. They will be able to give you suitable guidelines as to what to wear and they might even appreciate your initiative. You can also gauge what you think is appropriate attire from the company’s social media pages or their website.

Smile!

Once you go into the interview, be aware of your posture and body language as both play a huge part in your overall appearance. You could be wearing the most appropriate outfit, but if you don’t conduct yourself correctly, the outfit will not matter. Good posture, a solid handshake and a smile won’t go amiss and, if you’ve got an office appropriate outfit on, you may find yourself breezing through that interview and into the job.

Interested in starting a career in the financial services? We have a wide variety of jobs on offer, which you can view here. Or, get in touch with a member of the team to find out more.
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