When you're super motivated at the very beginning, you start to distribute your CV and cover letter to companies in the hope of securing yourself an interview. Every day in the news they don't stop going on about how unemployment in the UK has never been higher. A while later, you start to feel down about your job hunting and just then, miraculously, you receive a phone call from a recruiter.
Everything then starts to speed up. Your interview is next week. For ways to highlight your best skills or for “things not to say during an interview", there's not a lot I can say to help you. On the other hand, there is something that I can help you with, so I've put together a little guide of how to dress and more importantly how not to dress for that first interview. Your look will set up your very first impressions
which will set the tone of your interview.
Firstly however, here’s a couple of things you must absolutely NOT
do before your moment of glory.
Outfit to avoid
As I'm sure you're well aware, wearing jeans and trainers is frowned upon in most cases. Your cool, laid-back side is sweet, but let’s keep it for the weekend shall we? You do need to have a minimum level of seriousness about your look.
A dress code for each area
If truth be told, there are social codes
to take into account. A certain dress code
is required according to the working environment and will therefore be expected. For example, for a job in a bank, men wearing suits and ties would be a standard way of dressing. The same goes for women who would be expected to wear a suit of some sort.
As proof of the importance of this habit: the Union of Swiss Banks (UBS) kindly supplies every new employee with a dress-code manual of some 40 pages. In this manual, you will find instructions on how to put on a tie (there shall be no use of pre-prepared knots for around your neck) and the correct length that your skirts and dresses should be at (oh and it states that daisy-like patterns don't really fit the image).
The manual is nicely decorated with overly philosophical phrases such as “clothing acts as an essential carrier of non-verbal communication.” In other words, that what you wear is who you are
. With this, we understand that all these years you have been lied to, and that you can now forget the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”.
Stick to fashion is the key
On the other hand, in other areas such as those of communication, the coin is flipped on social codes
. Consequently, a trendy t-shirt (with a brand such as Carhartt on it) with black jeans (which disguises the fact that you’re actually wearing jeans) and a jacket will give you the necessary arty look that’ll make recruiters fall at their feet!
In a few words, all of the above tells you that, wherever the interview and for whichever department, it’s worthwhile identifying the dress code before in order to avoid a ‘faux pas’. To help you, you can ask your friends who work in that domain to give you an idea as how to dress, or simply, type the question into Google and I'm sure you'll have a good idea.
Take a turn in dressing room
Once your outfit investigation stage has for the time being been ticked off your list, a trial run seems to be the most necessary. Especially, if you are not used to the style of clothing suitable for your interview. In reality, you have to feel comfortable (or at least seem like it) so if you've never worn the outfit or, a fortiori, a tie, there's only one thing to do and that's practise.
Also, if you're not used to it, try wearing the items such as ties for a few days before hand to familiarise yourself
with said item. For women, the same goes for you with your high heels: train yourself, including a book on your head (whilst at home as awkwardness doesn't kill, but there are limits and it would be pretty crazy spraining your ankle the day before such an important interview.)
Train and train again
Unfortunately though, you can't improvise a naturally relaxed look. Thanks to this preparation however, you will feel more comfortable and best of all you will not look as if you are in disguise or in your Sunday best. You'll be able to be you and concentrate on your objective: to land yourself the job!
Details that make the difference
written by Fabrice Jonas, founder of Fashandy
You may laugh but some minor details can be vital, especially when it comes to the choice of certain materials. It mustn't be itchy, suffocate you or jingle. Even the sizing of clothes is sometime overlooked. You don't want to make it look like you've nicked your younger brother's jacket or that you've stolen your grandmother's flowery dress! So yes, you have to think of l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y everything.
One last piece of advice to conclude. Try not to do a lot on the day of your interview. Also for the ladies, always remember that less is more. A light dab perfume will more than suffice (one drop on your neck and another on your wrists). You don't want to suffocate the interviewer! When applying make-up, keep it discreet. Remember, you're not entering a beauty competition here! To all you men out there, a hair cut a couple of days before can do you wonders.
And there you go, you're all set to go! As for the rest, that's all down to you. Good luck!