We’ve all been there. Sifting through a wardrobe that may as well be empty, because absolutely nothing seems to work. This is often the case for special events, dates or even just a regular indecisive day. But on one occasion in particular, I’d have to say getting dressed is especially challenging. Job interviews. Aside from deciding how to answer that infamous question “what’s your weakness?”, making sure you’re on time and getting all your genius ideas in perfect wording…deciding what to wear is the biggest challenge when it comes to interview prep. It’s tough to know what type of office environment you’re entering and you never know the taste of your interviewer. There’s no doubt that no matter what you say or do, the first impression you give is all about the way you look. There are some important rules to interview dressing that a) make the words you say most important and b) make sure you are well dressed, comfortable and prepared for anything. Read on!
Look 1: Black pants, simple pumps and a great fitted blazer are the ingredients for a flawless interview outfit. But adding the wrong top can make this look go from business casual to purely inappropriate. Any safari prints or extremely bold patterns are not ideal for an interview, they’ll distract your assessor and bring your serious level down more than a few notches. Opt for a more subdued design that you feel comfortable in.
Lesson: The only wild animal that belongs in your interview is your beast of a brain.
Blazer: Mango, Pants: BDG, 1st top: Zara, 2nd top: Vero Moda, Shoes: Gianni Bini
Look 2: A pencil skirt is the classic choice for an office environment. However, there are certain precautions to take. Firstly, be sure your skirt is not too tight. If you’re more than happy to wear it to the club, please refrain from heading to an interview in it. Second, pencil skirt slits run rampant, be sure the option you choose or own does not have too big of a slit. Sexy at the office may work on Mad Men, but you will not be taken seriously if you go this route. As demonstrated below, a loose-fitting top works just fine, but for the occasion we are tackling, it’s best to go for something simple that will stay tucked in and is fairly high-cut. You’ll feel relaxed enough to tackle any question, and look stellar doing it.
Lesson: Only rock a seductive pencil skirt/blouse combo if you’re becoming a flight attendant.
1st top: Cheap Monday, 2nd top: Banana Republic, Skirt: Mango, Necklace: Banana Republic, Shoes: Gianni Bini
Look 3: There are certain interviews that don’t necessarily require you to go all-out in the clothing department (when you’d likely feel pretty ridiculous in a pencil skirt), and that’s completely legitimate. In my personal opinion, no matter what type of interview you’re doing, denim should not be an option. Go for a classic blouse, a professional jacket and simple black pants. No matter what, you’ll look polished and genuinely interested in the position.
Lesson: If you wear jeans to an interview, you may as well answer the age-old ‘weakness’ question with: “I dress inappropriately”.
Top: Banana Republic, Blazer: Banana Republic, Jeans: Zara, Pants: BDG, Shoes: La Canadienne
Other things to keep in mind:
- Keep the makeup at the minimum, I don’t even suggest putting on eyeshadow. You don’t want to distract from what you’re saying, and looking your most natural is always best.
- Make sure you’re sporting a good manicure. Chipped nails are such a turn-off and bright pink polish is improper. Best case scenario is nude or a french manicure.
- Get a good sleep the night before and have a hearty breakfast. No matter how many times you rehearse your spiel, these two things are of greatest import.
- Send a follow-up email a few hours after your interview. Explain why you think you’re right for the job and what separates you from anyone else.
- Put your Facebook creeping skills to use on Google and check out your interviewer on LinkedIn and/or Twitter, browse relevant news clippings and do plenty of company research. You never know what type of information will come in handy.
After you’ve picked out a comfortable and appropriate outfit, it’s all about you and what you have to offer. Radiate confidence, take your time, ask questions and be yourself. Bonne chance!