What you should wear to a job interview

Get it wrong and it could cost you the job but get your interview just right and you’ll not only be on the right track to success, it’ll also help you beat those interview nerves.
It goes without saying that what you say in the interview is, of course vital. Not only will you need to know about the job inside out, but it’s also worth bearing in mind that what you choose to wear can have a bearing on the final outcome. It’s true to say that first impressions really do count and apparently it takes just a couple of seconds for a complete stranger to draw up an opinion of you – whether positive or negative – based on nothing more than your appearance.
No pressure then and knowing what to wear to that all-important interview is something we’ll all have to wrestle with at some point. Although fashion trends continue to change and evolve, there’s no substitute for style and whether your impending interview is going to be formal or informal, there are several style rules you really should stick to. Remember that this is not the time to start experimenting with a new look so here’s our guide to help you choose an outfit that will help you nail that job you’ve always wanted:

Formal interviews

In some ways formal interviews are the easiest to dress for as the general rule of thumb is to choose an outfit that’s just a little bit smarter than what you’d normally wear to work; in other words the job you’re applying for. If the interview is for a promotion then that makes the decision much simpler but if you’re going for a job somewhere entirely new, you could, if you’re really determined to get it right, hang around outside the office to see what other people are wearing. At the end of the day though, it’s most likely to be a suit.

So now you’ll need to decide which colour suit to wear and in our opinion, darker colours are best. When it comes to buying a new suit for a formal interview it’s best to give linen a wide berth: it creases incredibly easily; even if you’re feeling cool as a cucumber on the way to the interview, the slightest hint of pre-interview nerves and you’ll be breaking out in a sweat – not a good look in a linen suit.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect suit you’ll need to pick some shoes: choose black shoes to go with a black, blue or grey suit, or brown shoes to go with a brown or dark blue suit. Oh and always choose leather shoes for an interview…they seem to look much smarter than suede.

Now onto the thorny question of which tie. Loud patterns should be avoided and hopefully we don’t have to tell you that comedy or cartoon character ties are an absolute no-no. The perfect tie should complement your entire look so try to match it with your suit and shirt. Perhaps the easiest option for an interview is a tailor made (of course) white shirt, worn with a plain tie in a single colour. Don’t forget to think about your socks too because yes, the interviewer will notice.

Smart casual

Smart casual can be a very scary term indeed, simply because it covers such a wide range of different options. It’s worth bearing in mind that by setting a dress code of smart casual, some companies use what you decide to wear as a way to gauge your ability to interpret office etiquette. This probably doesn’t help much if you’re panicking about what to wear so try to remember that jeans, trainers and t-shirts are completely out. A smart blazer teamed up with some causal trousers can look great and provided what you’re wearing is well-cut and good-quality, you’ll look and feel great which is half the battle.

Provided you choose something relatively uncomplicated for a ‘smart casual’ interview you’ll be on the right track; remember you can always add a touch of your own unique style with a carefully chosen accessory or two.

One last piece of advice: don’t leave your interview outfit to the last minute. It’s well worth trying everything on as far in advance as possible just in case you need some last minute dry cleaning. Can we also suggest that a bespoke suit is the ultimate interview attire so if you really want to storm that interview, you know where to come…