Have a Winning Wardrobe

Interview Tips

1. Plan the Perfect Attire

Depending on the job you are looking for, interview attire may be more formal than what you’re used to wearing. Jobseekers typically wear a suit to an interview, but some interviews will allow a simple dress shirt and slacks for men or a dress shirt and skirt or slacks, or a dress, for women. If you are interviewing and currently employed, let your interviewer know if you’re coming directly from work. Most interviewers will understand that you don’t want to look as if you are interviewing when you’re currently employed by wearing a suit if you don’t usually wear one.

2. Dress to Impress

Your interview attire says a lot about you. Shoes should be shined and polished. Nails should be trimmed, there should be no wrinkles in your suit or dress shirt and, for women, hair should be neatly styled or pulled back. A typical outfit is a suit that’s navy or black and a dress shirt that’s white or blue. Ensure your shirt is ironed and there is no yellowing around the cuffs or collar. Men should wear a tie or dress shirt with only one button undone. Women shouldn’t show excess cleavage or wear heels that they’re not comfortable walking in.

3. Wear a Simple Hairstyle

For men, wear a style that is neat and shave before an interview, unless you wear a beard. Never go to an interview with a 3-o’clock shadow. Hair should be neat and combed. For women, if you wear your hair out, it should be neatly styled. If you wear it pulled back, put it in a bun or ponytail. In the summer, a neat bun is ideal if the weather is super humid so the focus isn’t on your hair. Don’t put on hair products that have strong smells. This can also be said for men with their aftershave.

4. Have Well-Manicured Nails and Simple Makeup

For men, your nails should be clean and neatly trimmed. Always use deodorant, especially in the summer when the weather can be a lot hotter, and carry your suit jacket so you don’t sweat through your dress shirt. If you’re an excessive sweater, carry a dress shirt and your jacket and put it on in the bathroom of a nearby coffee shop. With women, never have chipped polish, but ensure your nails are neatly trimmed or manicured. Avoid using strong perfume or heavily scented deodorant. Keep jewelry to a minimum and keep makeup light. Don’t wear excessive makeup like dark lipstick.

5. Ensure Proper Accessories and Outerwear

Accessories are as important as the suit you wear. For men, shoes should be polished. If you carry a briefcase, put it on the seat beside you. In bad weather, leave your coat in the foyer at reception. You can change your shoes in the restroom and use a plastic bag to put your boots in and hang them with your coat. For women, put your purse on the seat beside you in interviews. Fix your heels if metal screws are exposed. Most offices have marble floors and you don’t want to slip. Ensure phones are off, not just on vibrate.

6. Dress for the Position or Role

While some people are used to wearing a suit every day, if you’re not, don’t worry. Head to a local department store and try on a few suits. Women can wear a pant suit, skirt suit, or dress with sweater or jacket that’s more on the formal side. If price is a factor, visit a nearby thrift store for a gently used second-hand suit. Try it on to ensure it’s a proper fit. Inspect the clothes ahead of time by doing a visual inspection. Look for any holes, stains or odors. Make a repair or find a different outfit to wear.

7. Do a Visual Inspection

The night before an interview, have all clothes laid out, including shoes, outerwear, umbrella, etc. Try on the interview outfit and make sure there are no holes, missing buttons or stains. If a shirt or slacks need ironing, do it the night before, not the day of. Make sure hair is neat and perfume or cologne is at a minimum. Before leaving, confirm you have the interview address, your cell phone and resume copies. Upon arrival at the interview, use the restroom, freshen up with a mint and check your appearance again. Go into the interview prepared, and feeling confident and calm.