Did you know that most first impressions are formed within the first seven seconds of meeting a person? According to www.collegefashion.net, 55 percent of a first impression is based on non-verbal cues. Nonverbal cues include body language, gestures, posture, eye contact, and even appearance. Therefore, how you dress for an interview is incredibly important.
I am not saying that your appearance is more important than your qualifications, but how you dress is the first chance that you have to impress your future employer. Your outfit has the ability to provide the interviewer with a sense of who you are and what you will bring to the position before even asking you a single question. This is why dressing the part and dressing in a professional manner is half the battle. “It is important to dress appropriately for an interview because you want people to respect you for who you are as a professional and not for how much skin you show. You want to be able to earn employment based on your abilities,” says Graduate student Maria Jose Vaca.
As cliché as it sounds, you should dress for the job you want, and not the job you have. So instead of wearing your comfortable, signature sweats, you should dress up to match the climate and dress code of the company with which you are interviewing. Every company is different, which means that they might have a strict dress code, a more lenient one, or a combination of the two. If possible, you should do some research ahead of time to learn the company’s history and atmosphere, in order to pick out the perfect outfit to showcase your personality, while highlighting your prowess and aptitude in your given field.
For a more formal interview and workplace setting, women should wear a neutral colored pants-suit or skirt-and-blazer combination. Your blouse should be something simple, with a conservative neckline. Closed-toe shoes with a heel less than three inches are highly recommended as well. Jewelry should complement the outfit while remaining minimal and non-distracting. Keep your makeup, hair, and nails simple and natural. Remember, you want to catch the interviewer’s attention, but not detract from your qualifications and your interest in the job or internship.
Men should wear a suit or nice trousers and a sports jacket for a formal interview. Their button-down dress shirt should be traditional in print and design. Ties should go with the outfit, but should not be ostentatious. Loafers or other dress shoes are suggested. Hair should be neat and face should be clean-shaven. Wearing a watch is highly recommended as well because it shows the interviewer that you are professional, responsible, and punctual. Both genders should make sure to conceal piercings and tattoos as best they can. Although many companies have become more relaxed about them, there are still corporations that would rather you cover them up. You should smell nice and fresh without using overpowering perfumes or colognes.
Lastly, all outfits should be freshly cleaned and ironed. “The dress code for today’s work environment is a little more relaxed so people should not dread getting ready for an interview. As far as making a good first impression, you can never go wrong with apparel from stores like H&M. A good rule of thumb is that if your outfit would make your grandmother scream, do not wear it!” said Junior International Relations major, Ashley DeShields.
Due to the extremely competitive job market today, dressing to impress is even more imperative. When in doubt, do research online about what to wear to an interview. Dressing for an interview is all about selling yourself from the moment you walk into the room, to the moment you leave. Looking professional is a factor that many interviewers rely on to help them decide whether or not you would be a good fit for their company, so follow these guidelines to distinct yourself from the rest of the applicants.