-Herbert Harold Vreeland
The importance of clothing for an interview can’t be stressed enough. Sloppy dressing sends out wrong signals. A well put together ensemble (interview appropriate), conversely, shows that you are focused, organized and professional. It speaks volume about you and projects a positive image to the outside world.
In a study conducted in a large Seoul University, 150 observers rated a woman being interviewed for an internship. They were shown three versions of the video, each video showing the woman wearing clothes with a luxury logo, a non-luxury logo and no logo. In the version of the video, where the woman was seen wearing a shirt with branded logo, observers rated her most suitable for the job and gave her significantly higher status and wealth ratings. The luxury observers also thought that she deserved the highest compensation.
I am not implying that you splurge on luxury clothes for an interview. My point is that recruitment process is full of biases, and people do take decisions based on one’s appearance. So, you must take your dressing seriously.
So, should you go traditional, such as a suit or something bit more creative and experimental?
It depends. If you are in a traditional industry like law or banking, then wearing a suit is your safest bet. Instead, if you are going for an interview in design, advertising, or an industry where a bit of creativity and originality is valued and appreciated, then you can break with the convention and go for a bit more directional.
A blazer is always a good way to start. A traditional navy will work in any occasion. And instead of a button down white shirt, you can go for a granddad collar. For trousers, you don’t want to experiment much. Go for something that fits you nicely. And as for footwear, an oxford dobby will work just fine. If you are still confused, remember the thumb rule: dressing up is always preferable than dressing down.
If you buy new outfits for the interview, they should not feel strange to you. Make sure you try the ensemble one day before. Sit down on a chair and look yourself in the mirror. You will get used to your image in the new clothes.
There are people who have poor dress sense. They don’t know the ABCs of fashion. They even can’t tell the difference between a notch collar and a shawl collar. If you are one of them, then ask a friend with good instincts in matters of dressing.
A final piece of advice: dress the part but don’t overdo it. Even though you want to bring out your personality through your accessory choices, don’t go crazy. Avoid ties and socks in bright colors and bizarre patterns. You might be itching to come across as a disruptor, but not so much as to look completely out of place and make the interviewer a bit uneasy. You have to strike the right balance between fitting in and standing out. Remember that you want to be remembered for the right reasons – for your words, not for your clothes.