What to wear: To an Interview

Fieldy’s top five

•    Invest in a new interview outfit

•    Look like someone who already works there

•    Go white shirt and safe tie

•    Pay great attention to grooming – hair etc

•    Get objective feedback from others


It takes a further ten impressions to make up for one bad impression. So, no surprise that the first impression you make on a potential employer is going to be the most important one. Before you even open your mouth you are judged, and the first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you’re wearing.

Your personal appearance will be judged as an expression of who you are and your approach to your work. More so, your clothes will be viewed as indicators of your self-confidence and self-worth. Looking good will make you feel good.

If you get the image right, it is likely to be noticed but not necessarily remarked upon.  And that’s the aim. The recruiter will just feel that you “look right”.  However, if you get it wrong, then it might well become too difficult for the recruiter to ignore. You don’t want to become the guy with “that tie” or “that shirt”!

Think about it. What you’re trying to do here is to look professional and allowing the recruiter to image you working for them and representing their company.

Put on what you’re proposing to wear and then look in the mirror. Would you hire “you”? Why?


Don’t be a case of….


If you are applying to a professional environment, then they are likely to have a stricter dress code.  In this case, try to echo the “in-house” style to reinforce the impression of you as a safe pair of hands and “one of them”.

Tip: You can’t go wrong with a white shirt, tie and suit for this occasion. It is clean, professional and smart. Guys, make sure the shirt is “white”. If it isn’t – get a new one. There is no room for anything looking tired here.

Tip: The tie should be safe. By all means you can choose something with stripe or pattern but it must be understated. Don’t make it a talking point.

Aim for a “contemporary” rather than a “classic” look if you are trying to convey a more dynamic, creative, high energy impression.  If you look modern and up to date then they will assume that you are too.  This is also important for more mature candidates who worry that they may be seen as “past it”.  What you may think looks “on trend” may not be, so it’s always useful to seek advice on this.

Organisations with a casual dress code are perhaps the most tricky regarding an interview outfit.  Wearing a tie could be a major faux pas.   A smart co-ordinating outfit rather than a suit may be more appropriate.  Jeans rarely are suitable even if worn by the majority of the staff on an everyday basis.  Ask before the interview to make sure.

All interview outfits should be clean, free of dog hairs, deodorant marks, fraying hems or straining zips and buttons.  The interviewer is going to be sitting staring at you for an hour and they will notice every sartorial flaw. Everything.

Good grooming.  Men need to be clean-shaven or have their beards etc closely trimmed.  Clean fingernails, fresh breath, shiny shoes, deodorant are all essential rather than afterthoughts.  Use aftershave or perfume sparingly as it can be quite intense in a small interview room.

It is very difficult to be objective about how you look and the impression you make.  People who are close to you are likely to reassure you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings and therefore it is difficult to know whether you need to do some work on this or not.


Your personal image will strongly influence an employer’s perceptions of your capabilities, your approach to work and how well you will fit in with their organisation.

Get the image right and you will find that the employer is already pre-disposed towards you and open to being convinced that you are indeed the right person for the job.  Get it wrong and you will have an uphill battle.

Good luck!


Follow James at: www.twitter.com/MrJamesField


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