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What not to wear in an interview

"What not to wear" in an interview. A guide to the do's and don'ts

As in every interview, the first few seconds are the most important, your appearance and how you dress will influence how the interviewers view you and your personality. Many of us think it is common sense when deciding on the appropriate dress code for an interview, but you will be surprised how many mistakes can be made and many of these mishaps have been seen by employers. 

Some examples of the most common mistakes made by graduates:

  • one for the girls – too much cleavage and showing off your mid-rift!  This is totally off putting; it may be suitable for a night on the town, but not in a job interview.
  • Scruffy shoes are a “no no!”  Hasn’t your Mother ever told you that you can tell a person by the shoes they are wearing?
  • Too many earrings, nose rings, eyebrow piercing’s and any other piercing for that matter can offend interviewers and really effect how they view you and your personality. 
  • Greasy hair - no one likes to see someone that looks like they have bathed in Olive oil.  Sorry guys, but ponytails are not ideal.  If you can’t bear to cut off those locks for that interview, then make sure it is tidy and looks clean and under control.
  • Too much aftershave or perfume, you don’t want to walk in smelling like a cosmetics department – however nice your scent is!
  • Unprofessional suits!  Ladies, don’t turn up looking like you are going to a wedding and guys, make sure your tie and shirt are not the same colour, you will end up looking like a compere!

Employees are looking to see if the graduate can be “moulded into a model employee,” this doesn’t mean you can’t show off your individualism, but it’s important to remember that they are looking for someone to represent their company and this probably means that they have a certain image that they are looking to project.  Make sure what you are wearing is comfortable so you can be confident wearing it.  You want to be concentrating on the interview, not worrying that your shirt is riding up or your shoes are giving you blisters. 

Girls, if you are wearing tights, make sure you take a spare pair; you don’t want to be caught with a ladder!  Guy’s, same goes for a tie, food and drink stains, even pen marks will show up like a sore thumb – take a replacement, just in case.

Don’t distract the interviewers by playing with your jewellery, or messing around with scarves and ties.  Avoid wearing items that you may be tempted to play around with, as this will make you look nervous and distract the interviewers away from what you are saying. 

For some companies suits may not be worn during a normal working day, but unless you are made aware of this, go for a suit everytime.  If you wear a suit, the employer can see that you will be able to dress more casually, but if you turn up casually dressed it places a doubt on whether you can smarten up! 

Try to put yourselves in the employer’s shoes, as they may be thinking how you will look like in front of their clients – remember you will be representing their company. 

Dress for the job you are going for, not what you are currently doing.  What may have been acceptable during your student days is not necessarily acceptable in the work place. 

The best advice is to keep it simple and professional, the rule of thumb is always wear a suit and shirt and tie, or blouse for women.   If in doubt; ask!  Importantly, it’s better to be noticed for your uniqueness in your work experience or what you have to offer to a company rather than be noticed for wearing the wrong thing.

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