By Nicola Reynor
We’ve been hearing the adage, ‘the first impression is the last impression’ for years now, and there’s no denying the fact that it continues to hold relevance even in modern times. In fact, it is probably more pertinent today than it has ever been.
One of the most important scenarios where this adage applies to a T is during a job interview, particularly the first ever interview of your career.
So, you’re fresh out of college with stars in your eyes and hope to score yourself that much coveted role in the multinational of your dreams! The question is what steps are you going to take to turn that fantasy into reality? Wearing the right interview attire seems like a great start!
If looking good can make one feel good about himself, then not only will dressing appropriately give you a professional and worldly-wise appearance, it will also make you confident, which will reflect in the way you conduct yourself during the interview.
Also read: 12 things journalism students understand
Why Dressing Properly Is Important
As per a Job Outlook study conducted by NACE in 2006, prospective employers were most influenced by a candidate’s overall grooming and how they dress. In fact, it is the first 30 to 40 seconds of your interaction that go a long way in determining whether or not you will be hired.
While having an impressive cover letter and resume along with the perfect answers to the interviewer’s question are always a plus, one often-overlooked aspect that influences your prospective employer at a subliminal level is your attire.
How to Dress to Impress
- Find the Perfect Suit
Few outfits make you look as erudite and refined as a suit does. However, it is extremely important that you choose your suit with care. You should primarily focus on three things – fit, style and fabric.
- The Fit
When it comes to the fit of your suit, do not fall for the one-size-fits-all routine in order to save a few bucks. Focus on getting the best fit, even if you have to loosen your purse strings a tad as that will be money well spent.
The fit of your suit is what will make you look sharp. Your suit jacket should fit you snugly around your chest and arms. Before buying a suit, try on the jacket and see if you can move your arms, and if the shoulder pads end right at the taper of your shoulders. The sleeves should show about half an inch of your shirt cuffs and should not extend beyond your knuckles when your arms are relaxed by your sides.
If you’re buying a readymade suit, you will do well to have a good tailor on standby just in case it requires alterations to make the fit better. You also have the option of going for custom-made suits for men, as this way you can be sure that the suit is tailored to fit you perfectly in all aspects.
- The Style
If you’re going to be buying only one suit, it is recommended you go for the classic suit which is considered timeless and versatile enough to be worn to most occasions.
A single-breasted two or three-button suit jacket with a notched lapel and regular flap pockets should hold you in good stead. Two-button suits are timeless and look good on most guys. Three-button suits are more suitable for tall guys with long torsos. When it comes to vents, larger guys can opt for a double back vent to allow better movement, and slimmer guys can go for a single back vent.
- The Fabric
When selecting the fabric, consider the weave, the color and the pattern of your suit. Natural fibers like wool are versatile and breathable. If you’re going for hybrid fabric or blends, make sure the synthetic content is either 40% or less. If your suit is going to be your very first one, go for a classic navy. If it is your second suit, pick a classic gray or charcoal. Pinstripes are acceptable too, provided they don’t stand out.
- Wear a Great Shirt
It is suggested that you wear a 100% cotton, crisp white shirt rather than a blue or an ecru-colored one. However, make sure it is clean and spotless. Invest in a new shirt, if need be. Additionally, wear a shirt with a simple collar devoid of tabs, pins and monograms. Avoid shirts with French cuffs (to dodge cufflink bloopers) as well as those with contrasting white collar and cuffs.
- Tie Things Up
One of the first things about your outfit that is bound to get noticed is your well-knotted tie. Pick one with caution as wearing the wrong tie can ruin your overall look. Go for a solid-colored sleek one with a neat pattern such as small dots or stripes. Stay away from eccentric designs, bright hues and anything that’s over-the-top. Leave the pocket squares out of the equation.
- Accessorize Attentively
Complete your polished professional look with a pair of clean, shiny black lace-up shoes. They look more professional than penny loafers or anything gimmicky with embellishments or straps. Wear black socks, ones that are long enough to cover your ankles when you sit or cross your legs.
Keep the jewelry to a minimum. Wearing no jewelry at all (except your wedding band if you’re married) is perfectly okay. Do wear a smart watch, but make sure isn’t shiny, flamboyant or sporty.
- Don’t Forget to Groom
Groom yourself well for the interview by doing the following:
- Make sure your nails are clean and neatly cut.
- Have your hair freshly cut or, at least, trimmed around the neck and the ears a week before the interview.
- If you have a mustache or a beard, it should be freshly trimmed; else shave on the very day of the interview.
- Apply only a hint of cologne. Do not spray on too much of it as it can be overwhelming. You don’t want to suffocate the interviewer if you are interviewed in a small room.
- Have a good pen handy as well as a clean handkerchief in your pocket.
Attending an interview is hardly the time to express your personal style/individuality or experiment with what’s in your wardrobe. Such an occasion calls for dressing to earn the job and make the most of the opportunity you have, which is why it is best to stick to the tried-and-tested. Dress to make an impact and present yourself in the best way possible. You want to differentiate yourself from the crowd and be memorable. Impeccable dressing can do that for you. Keep the above tips in mind and you’re sure to appear sharp and confident, thereby upping your chances of winning that job.
Nicola Reynor is a passionate blogger who loves to blog about fashion, beauty, travel, health, fitness, wedding and lifestyle trends. When in leisure time, she prefers to spend time in traveling with friends and family. You can find more about her at Nicola+