Interview Tips: What to Wear & What Not to Say

What Should You Wear to an Interview?

Choosing that perfect outfit for your big job interview is an important aspect of preparing for the big day. For the majority of roles on offer out there, a smart turnout and demeanour is required and expected by most employers. Although not all roles have the same dress code, i.e a marketing role may be a lot less formal than an accounting job, the below guidelines can be used universally.

For men, a smart suit and tie, both well pressed and spotlessly clean is a perquisite. Generally speaking, the interviewer does expect to see a tie but there are times when an open collar shirt may be appropriate. You will need to gauge the role vs company in order to decide.

Polished shoes are also a must. We have had countless experiences when a male candidate has been presented to us, immaculately attired and turned out but forgets to pay attention to his shoes. When glancing down to his shoes, we are often dismayed to find the shabbiest pair of shoes on show. Our first reaction to a situation like this is “Has he lost interest in correct preparation at the shoes level and hope we won’t notice?” and “If we gave him the role, would he overlook other important elements in a task or project?”

For women, there are more options. A dark, two-piece, grey, navy or black suit is your best option when interviewing with an established company. Generally speaking it is advisable to steer clear of strapless tops/dresses, spaghetti straps and well-worn tees under the jacket. Women can wear a black suit easier than men because they can lighten the look with a soft coloured blouse and accessories.

If a company actively portrays a more casual look publicly and towards their staff, you may be able to go further down the casual ladder without looking unprofessional. Company websites and social media channels are a great place to gauge the attitude towards attire as there are likely sources of pictures of social nights, find raising events and awards ceremonies. It is also a great place to pick up additional info about the company and you can discuss the events etc. at your interview.

What Not to Say in an Interview

Something almost as important as the correct things to wear at an interview is the list of “things not to say”! You will always be encouraged to ask questions at the interview but here are a few questions that are best left unsaid… at least until the next level of interviews or when you get the job!

  • Do you offer personal days?
  • Do you offer sick pay?
  • What is the boss like, really?!
  • What time do the pubs close around here?
  • Are training days compulsory?
  • Do you offer flexi time?

The first interview should be all about showing the interviewer what you can bring to the company. It should never be about what you are getting out of the company and what benefits you are hoping to get from working there. Of course, you want to find out about the role and responsibilities of the job before you accept or indeed agree to a second interview. However, the time and place rule applies here and all of your questions will be addressed naturally well before you are offered the role through the interview process.

Dress for success sums up any preparation before you attend any job interview. “Clothes make the man…or woman” as Shakespeare which is good advice to us all