John used to be a gas engineer. He wore an overall-type uniform to work every day. He had an accident and was ill for months, including over the Christmas period. His Manager invited him to come to the Christmas party and said he would send a car for him. A limo turned up. The engineer quickly donned a suit and tie, thinking that would be more appropriate than his jeans and T-shirt for riding in a limo. When he arrived at the party, Managers who had previously never spoken to him greeted him like an old friend, asked him how he was and included him in their conversation. He was still ‘one of the lads’ with the other engineers, who also greeted him well, but he was struck by what a difference his clothes made to those Managers. They spoke to him as an equal. He made a point of dressing more smartly for other work occasions and within a few months was promoted.
It is so important to dress well for an interview. It’s your one and only chance to make that vital first impression. A suit is a must, male or female. Make it one that flatters your figure:
- Be careful with colours and patterns if you are small framed and/or tall – anything very bright or large can dwarf a small frame. You can enjoy heavier fabrics than those with larger frames. Lighter fabrics could make you look frail. You can choose either a vented or non-vented jacket.
- If you have a larger figure, avoid clutter – pockets, ruffles, bagginess. Don’t choose a jacket or skirt that stops on your largest part. A long jacket can skin large hips and make you look taller and slimmer. Choose fitted jackets – the tailoring is very flattering – and lighter weight fabrics (heavy fabrics can add ‘weight’). Darker colours are more slimming than light – but a suit is slimming as it is one-colour and doesn’t ‘break up’ the body line. Vented jackets are good on larger frames (single vent) as they give you extra room.
- Generally, navy blue, black, charcoal and dark brown are considered the most suitable colours for business wear. Pick the one that suits your skin tone. Hold it up to your face in a mirror. It will either light up your face or make it look dull. The right colour is the one that lights you up!
- Women should avoid low necklines and wear a well-fitting bra.
- Men should avoid flashy, detracting jewellery and ties.
- Everyone should make sure their shoes look clean and shiny, hair and nails are clean and neat and their clothes are well-behaved – i.e. no necklines that need pulling up occasionally or shirts that keep needing to be tucked in.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll probably look and feel better than the person interviewing you!