Dressing professionally for a job interview
From the moment you meet your interviewer, your appearance and body language are sending cues about the kind of worker you’ll be. Follow these tips and dress for success.
Rule 1: Do your research
- Visit the employer’s website. How does the company present itself? Try to match this.
- Review the careers or recruitment pages for any comments on dress or etiquette.
- Think of the role you are applying for. Are you likely to be meeting clients? Is the role a formal or informal one? If in doubt, call HR and ask prior to the interview.
Rule 2: Err on the side of caution
- It’s easier to overcome being overdressed than underdressed.
- If you feel overdressed, remove your jacket discreetly.
- If you feel underdressed, keep your tone and manner of speech more formal.
Business formal versus business casual
Business formal essentials:
- Closed-toe shoes (clean and polished)
- Blouse or smart top for women
- Long sleeve shirt and tie for men
- Women – Do your makeup and hair and wear subtle jewellery. Hair should be in natural shades. Avoid glaringly unnatural hair colours.
- Men – Usually a short hairstyle is the most appropriate. Tie back long hair.
- Remember to iron your shirt or top and have your suit dry-cleaned regularly.
Business casual essentials:
- Business casual is more relaxed than business formal, but still professional.
- Jeans are sometimes appropriate, but must be formal without rips or tears.
- Well-tailored clothing is appropriate.
- Women – skirts should not be overly short. Tops should not be overly revealing.
- Men – T-shirts with slogans are generally not appropriate. A shirt with no tie, open collar and rolled-up sleeves is usually appropriate.
- Shoes – business shoes or smart loafers for men. Women can wear open toe shoes but jandals or sandals are never appropriate.
- Perfume or cologne should be subtle. Remember: others may be allergic to it.
- Facial piercing is generally not appropriate; however, culturally significant piercings are acceptable. In some cases, a small discreet nose piercing may be acceptable.
- Underwear, deodorant and oral hygiene are all very important and noticeable. Always ensure these necessities are covered.
- Nails should be trimmed and tidy. Polish is appropriate for women; however, overly bright shades or designs should be avoided. A French polish is a classic that is always appropriate.