Direct Line Group

What to wear to your job interview

Posted by Direct Line Group at 03:32 PM

How to dress for a job interview

How you present yourself outwardly is a good indicator to employers of what kind of a person you are, which is why dressing to impress is still an important part of the interview process.  Naturally, how you dress will depend very much on the type of industry and position you’re going for, but the advice below will help you avoid most fashion faux pas and pitfalls.

Women: what to wear to an interview

The formal interview

The main rule is that your attire should be the backdrop to your personality, not the main event. You can’t go wrong with black, as long as you steer clear of pet hair. It stands to reason that you won’t want to include a distracting fashion feature that draws more attention from the interviewer than you do. Having said that, there’s a lot to be said for a ‘pop’ of colour, an injection of subtle interest in the form of a piece of jewelry or scarf that completes your look.
Shoe-wise, select footwear that you can comfortably walk in without having to concentrate. Tottering is never a good look at the best of times, not least when you have to hike up several flights of stairs to your interview room. Remember, potential colleagues will appraise you as much as prospective employers, so when you’re making your way through the open plan office you’ll want to look like you’re in charge of your wardrobe, not the other way round.
The casual approach
Some businesses prefer a more laid-back business style. Nevertheless, it’s still a business, so beware the temptation to wear double denim and trainers, ditto crop tops and anything that celebrates underwear as outerwear. Safe is best, e.g. casual trousers paired with a shirt, at least until you learn the fashion ‘rules’ of your new workplace.

Men: what to wear to an interview

The formal interview

There are fewer choices for men than women, so a suit usually does the job. But there are suits and there are suits, and Pavarotti’s offcuts aren’t going to work in an interview situation. Choose darker tones over pastels and cotton over linen (which creases as soon as you touch it). The rules for shoe colour are pretty flexible, but black shoes (polished, always) with a black suit are the standard. The main thing is your shoes should appear looked after, which is why leather is preferable to suede. Although a ‘colour pop’ is often legitimate for women, a distracting (or worse, novelty) tie is a definite no-no for men. If you’re going to flash sock then beware the cartoon sock too. Plain colours and simple patterns are safer until you understand the climate of your new workplace.
The casual approach
As with women’s casuals, steer clear of denim and t-shirts until you are familiar with the unspoken fashion rules of your new employer. Donning a blazer can comfortably up-style a casual trousers and shirt pairing. You might be able to avoid a tie if your shirt is fairly fitted and well-ironed. You can get away with a lot if your clothing is good quality, well looked after, and you appear well groomed. That means smelling nice (again, caution here: less is more), looking clean, un-rumpled, and generally the right side of relaxed and confident.

And finally...

If questions remain about what to wear on the big day, do a little research. Ask a trusted friend or partner for feedback – preferably someone who has some style awareness themselves. Perhaps model a couple of outfits and put your new shoes through their paces before you hit the commute – you don’t want to arrive at your interview limping.
The key is to look like you feel comfortable because the more at ease with yourself you are, the more confident your prospective employer will be in making an investment in you. Good luck in your interview. Visit our careers pages for career advice and job vacancies at Direct Line Group.

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