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What not to wear for an interview

Published: Tuesday, 28 November 2006   Category: Career Advice

A guide to the do’s and don’ts from Discovery Recruitment and Training

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 piercings - 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 shirt and tie are not the same colour, you will end up looking like a compère!

Employers 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 and 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.

At some companies suits may not be worn during a normal working day, but unless you are made aware of this, go for a suit every time. If you wear a suit, the employer can see that you will be able to dress more casual, but if you turn up casually dressed it places a doubt on whether you can smarten up! Try and 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. Discovery’s 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!  Contact the recruitment company who are helping you and get some advice.

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.

For more information on Discovery Recruitment and Training please contact the team on 0121 212 3111 or visit the Discovery website www.discovery-recruitment.com

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