Job Search Series: How to dress for an interview

Did you know that what you wear to a job interview makes a first impression, long before you speak a single word?

The way you present yourself at a job interview says a great deal, including if you fit the style of the company. So, while it’s important to prepare what you are going to say in an interview it’s also important to think about what you are going to wear.

The sixth in our Job Search Series is a guide to putting your best foot (and shoe) forward when dressing for a job interview.

As different job interviews require different outfits, ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ when it comes to dressing appropriately.

When dressing for an interview, you want to look professional but also prove that you will fit well within the business. You are aiming to wear the best version of what other people in that business wear. Do your research. A quick Google of the company and their social media accounts will help give you an idea of the current work environment. If you know someone who already works there or in a similar business, you could ask their advice. You can also ask your employment consultant what they think you should wear.

If you are still unsure, it is better to overdress than underdress.

Below are some general tips on choosing your outfit.

  • For an office-based corporate role, a suit, collared shirt and tie for men and pants or skirt suit for women would be best.
  • For a trade or industrial role a collared shirt and jacket with either trousers or pants and closed toe shoes is suitable.
  • If you are going for an interview in hospitality or retail, find out if they have a uniform. Use the uniform as a guide for what to wear. If there is no uniform, try to match what other employees wear to work. Often black pants or skirts and a collared shirt is most common.
  • When choosing your outfit, avoid loud colours, sheer fabrics and printed logos
  • Choose clothes that are going to be comfortable so you will be able to concentrate on what is being asked of you.
  • Check your chosen outfit for stains, loose buttons and stray threads and fix accordingly.

If in doubt, do a full-dress rehearsal before the interview date and get a second opinion from your employment consultant, a friend or family member.

Once you’ve chosen your outfit, you should think about how you present yourself overall.

Personal presentation for a job interview extends past the clothes you choose to wear. While your clothing choice is important, you also need to look at your overall presentation. The video below will explain a few things you should do regarding personal presentation for any interview, of any type.

It would be a shame to miss out on your job because of something that is easily fixed, so before heading to an interview run through our checklist to ensure you are really ready:

Your outfit matches the company culture ✓

Your clothes are clean and ironed ✓

Your clothes are brushed down ✓

Your shirt is buttoned up ✓

Your shoes are clean or polished ✓

Your stockings don’t have any holes or runs ✓

Your teeth are clean ✓

Your nails are clean ✓

Your hair is clean and tied back it is going to cover your face ✓

Your makeup is natural looking ✓

Your perfume or cologne is minimal ✓

Your jewellery and accessories are simple ✓

Need further help or advice?

We are only a phone call or email away. Our staff are more than happy to support you in any aspect of job interview presentation.