Does Dressing to Impress Really Equal Interview Success?

Does it really matter if the sleeves of your suit don’t fit quite right?  Yes, it does.  Does it truly make a difference if you didn’t have time to press the last wrinkles from your shirt?  Yes, it does.  And does it matter if your cologne is a tad on the pungent side?  Yes, even that does matter when it comes to pulling off a successful interview.  You may be thinking, “What does any of this have to do with what type of candidate I am?”  “What does the color of my socks have to do with my education and skills?”
True, there may not be a direct correlation between the length of your tie and the length of the qualifications on your resume, but attention to your attire can tell an interviewer a lot about the type of professional you are, as well as your level of interest and dedication to landing this position.  This is the very first impression (and might be the only impression if you ignore this advice!) the interviewer will get of you, and as such, they will innevitably make assumptions about your personality and work ethic based on your appearance before you even open your mouth to discuss your 8 semesters on the Dean’s List or successful systems you implemented at your last job.

Even when applying for a job with a lenient or relaxed dress code, interviewees are vulnerable to the mistake of “dressing down” for the sake of matching the office culture.  While it may seem silly to dress extremely professional for an interview at say, a local restaurant for a serving position that you would wear a t-shirt and apron to every day, you still want to project that you are a professional who is extremely dedicated to finding a job.  (Of course, there is the notion of “too much of a good thing” to consider; for any film buffs who can reference the movie “Step Brothers”: nice pressed suit = good.  Double breasted tuxedo = not so good.)  Take your decision on what to wear to your interview very seriously, and your interviewer will likely assume you will take your job very seriously. Always consider that an interview is your time to put your best foot foward and project the “best version of yourself”; you can’t be too polished and poised when your dream job is on the line.

Below are some tips from an article on the basics of interview attire do’s and don’ts.  What are some of your tips on how to dress to impress?

How to Dress for an Interview:

Men’s Interview Attire

  • Suit (solid color – navy or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
  • Belt
  • Tie
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Women’s Interview Attire

  • Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

What Not to Bring to the Interview

  • Gum
  • Cell phone
  • Ipod
  • Coffee or soda
  • If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (earrings only, is a good rule)
  • Cover tattoos

Interview Attire Tips

  • Before you even think about going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly.
  • Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don’t have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.
  • If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners after an interview, so they are ready for next time.
  • Polish your shoes.
  • Bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building.

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