How to Dress to Impress at Your Next Job Interview

It is a fact that first impressions really do matter. A study at the Stern Graduate School of Business in New York found that you have just a seven-second window of opportunity to make a good first impression. So the cold, harsh facts are that in an interview scenario your chances of getting the job may already be gone before you have even got a chance to say more than a few words to impress the interviewer!

There have also been studies carried out at UCLA in California which demonstrate that 55% of the impact that you have in a communication with another person are determined by non-verbal cues such as body language, and a further 38% by the tone and cadence of the words you say.

So, just 7% of the effectiveness that you will have at influencing others, making friends and getting the job that you desire is down to the words that you actually speak.

What this means if you are seeking employment for a job is that you need to give considerable thought to what you wear, as you have just 7 seconds to impress, and it will have considerable bearing on whether or not you get the job.

Here are three factors to consider in choosing the correct attire for a job interview:

1/ Appropriateness

The clothing that you wear to an interview should be appropriate for the kind of work you will be doing. If you are applying for a job as a Club DJ, a Hairdresser or as a Fashion Buyer then it may be appropriate to dress in fashionable, cool trendy styles that mark you as an individual.

For those kinds of positions, it would actually count against you to wear a suit or office attire because the vibe and energy that these jobs require is all about individuality and creativity.

However, for a job in the medical profession the appropriate attire would be a more traditional tailored suit, long-sleeve shirt and tie with well-polished shoes if you are a man. And a tailored suit or conservative top and skirt with elegant, but not overpowering shoes to match if you are a woman.

The reason for this is that whereas people like their hairdressers to be quirky and individualistic. With their medical professionals, they want to feel an air of quiet professionalism and calm, and a sense that the individual is quietly competent without being overstated.

None of which is communicated if their Doctor is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt!

The last thing people want when they visit their Doctor is to think of them as a quirky, “out-there” individual, because the Doctor may end up prescribing them powerful drugs which is a serious matter.

2/ Good Fit and Color Choices

In addition to wearing a suit and tie it is also necessary to have good color combinations if you aren’t to look ridiculous at your interview and ruin those first seven seconds.

If you don’t have naturally good color sense (and many men don’t!) then go to a retailer who stocks a range of suits, shirts, and ties and ask a female assistant to help you out with choosing an outfit to wear for your interview.

Tell them that you would like a conservative choice that looks smart and which has good color co-ordination.

In most cases you will find that a female eye can be a great help in pointing out potential interview outfit blunders, such as a tie that has too many garish colors, or a suit whose cut does not fit you properly.

If you are a larger man, then consider opting for a double-breasted suit as they tend to be more sympathetic to the larger frame.

3/ On Interview Day Focus On the Details

When interview day does come around, then you should also be sure to focus on the details of what you are wearing and some other presentation factors.

  • Make sure that your shoes are polished to a shine.
  • Press your suit so that it looks smooth and not crumpled.
  • Cut and manicure your fingernails and make sure your hands are clean.
  • Brush your hair.
  • Shave if you are a man.
  • Iron your shirt and trousers.
  • Make sure that your tie is set to the correct length (about an inch above your belly button is about right for the end of the tie).
  • Tie a Windsor knot in your tie.
  • Make sure that your top button is done up, as having this undone looks sloppy and unprofessional in an interview environment.

If you follow these tips and also smile as you greet the person interviewing you for your job, then the likelihood of you powering positively through those first seven seconds and securing a job offer will be greatly increased.

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