You have an interview coming up and you realise that despite having a wardrobe bursting with clothes, you don’t actually have anything that you would like to wear to an interview.
Don’t worry, I’ve been there.
You literally throw everything out and start looking, mixing and matching to find, eventually, that you might actually have something that will give a good first impression.
You try it on. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, this still fits.
Oh, perhaps it’s a little tight?
Scratch head. Eye yourself up carefully. Tilt your head to the side and turn to look at how this looks from behind.
I don’t feel comfortable in this.
Back to the heap of clothes to find something that you’ll be happy to wear for a few hours.
You come up with many outfits that can be accessorised with this bag and that shoe but you either find something not quite right with each outfit or you simply don’t know which one to pick.
Eeny meeny miny moe? Point at one randomly?
Dressing the part is never really easy on a normal day so on those days where the pressure is intensified because of an interview; it’s a good idea to keep a few things (well, a lot of things) in mind.
*Firstly, your line of work will determine whether you turn up to an interview corporately suited or with a bit of style injected.
Your interview confirmation call/ email/ letter will usually specify what to wear on the day and with your research, you should know what kind of company you’re dealing with (which will determine what you wear). If you are in doubt though, stick to the standard blacks, greys, navys, creams whites for the suit/ trousers/ skirt/ jacket etc… and take it from there.
*Save yourself the hassle of having to find something new to wear with each interview you have and set aside a suit, dress or trendy- smart ensemble that you can pull off the hanger, whizz the iron over and grab a few accessories to finish it off. Make sure it isn’t too tight (or too loose) and make sure you feel comfortable in it. It is crucial to have an outfit like this in your wardrobe!
*Full Suit – If this is your choice of interview- wear then make sure it’s pressed properly and fits accordingly.
*Trousers or Skirt – If you’re wearing trousers (cropped, flared, straight leg etc) then make sure the leg length is right. If you’re wearing a skirt then just above the knee is okay but anything shorter than that is a no no. Anything as far down as the middle of your shin is okay for an interview too. Just remember to wear a pair of skin colour tights! A skirt above the knew will be fine with a black or navy pair though, just leave the patterns at home.
*Dress – The rules of the skirt apply here. Remember that you’re going to an interview and not a rave. There’s more than the length and fit to be cautious of here.
If you take off your jacket or cardigan, will the back of the dress look like something for tonight’s party or an office? Will your arms be covered? Are your breasts on display or are they carefully tucked away? You want to give a good first impression, don’t you?
*Shirt/ Blouse – Make sure it isn’t see- through and make sure your breasts aren’t falling out of it. Whether it’s plain, printed patterns, uniquely cut, or designed with appliqué… this part of your ensemble can really display your personality if you want it too.
*Blazer/ Jacket/ Cardigan – It’s a good idea to wear something over your dress/ shirt. A blazer teamed with trousers or a skirt looks smart. It also offers an element of protection from the weather and the AC in case the office has it on full blast. It’s always a good idea to bring one of the three with you to an interview.
*Accessories – If you want to play it safe with your clothing then this is probably the place to go a little crazy with the colour. Accessories are great for injecting yourself into the outfit but you don’t want accessory overload. Consider leaving the necklace at home if a scarf is going to be the main accessory and perhaps leave the bracelets in the box if you opt for a long, statement necklace and studs. Less is always more with accessorising… and especially for an interview.
Earrings – If you must adorn your ears, do so with studs. Two pairs at most, nothing to flashy.
Necklace – You can wear a long, statement necklace or a simple chain if you wanted. Just remember not to wear anything that will create noise – you don’t want to cause any distractions when it’s your time to shine.
Scarf – There are many ways to wear the scarf. Whether you choose to wrap it, tie it or loosely wear it around your neck, the scarf with its many patterns and colours can inject that colour into your ‘professional’ attire
Bracelet – Unless they’re the only thing you’re wearing accessory- wise, don’t weigh your wrist down with a multitude of bracelets. If you do choose to wear bracelets, make sure they don’t make any noise. Remember, this is your interview.
Bag – Bring a bag that will hold everything you intend to carry. If your ensemble is quite neutral and samey in terms of colour, why not make your bag THE accessory? Bright or patent black, make sure you bring a bag that adds to the fabulousness that is you and your ensemble. A bag says a lot about the person wearing it.
Shoes – Nothing impossible to walk in and always something chic. Whether you opt for flats or a three inch heel, make sure you leave the peep toes and worn heels at home. Try and be conservative with the shoes. Whilst a pair of patent red flats will look fantastic with an all black outfit, hot pink heels or strappy black raving shoes might not be so fantastic.
*Hair – Sweep that hair back into a ponytail or a loose bun. A statement clip might be your choice of accessory if you’re not fussed with the likes of bracelets and necklaces as above.
Think about how your hair will represent you.
Natural ladies, there are many ways to stay natural and still get the job without succumbing to relaxer or heat but we both know that a free fro isn’t going to land you the job as a secretary at the prestigious law firm. Regardless of what people think of natural hair though, stay natural and proud – find a (protective) style that you can work with. Freelancing with a small part of your left side shaved and patterned was great but now you’re applying to work for a big organisation, you might want to rethink? And as fantastic as your bright red bob looks, that role of admin assistant might just slip away from you.
Yes, it’s ridiculous that something as natural and beautiful as hair can make or break the interview but they are judging you, remember.
*Make- Up – Keep it minimal at all times. Lay off of the foundation and leave the Egyptian eyes at home. A simple eye with a touch of blusher and perhaps a subtle lip will do you well. You can wear a bold lip but just be aware of everything else you’re wearing.
Less is more when you’re preparing yourself for that job interview.
Don’t let your skill and hard work go to waste because you didn’t dress the part.
Always prepare yourself and make sure you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing.
Dress to impress. Dress for success.