What should you be wearing for that big interview?
Congratulations you have made it through to the interview stage of the application process! But now you need to think what you are going to wear!
So lets go for a full dress rehearsal!
There's no doubt I'm afraid, you are being judged, lets just get that out the way. It's likely that the interview panel don't know you from the next person through the door, so you need to get the tone just right!
So lets do some recon! If you are new to the industry, or you don't know the typical attire for your future colleagues, lets scope them out. Find a few within the same sector of the company on LinkedIn, and look what they wear!
Remember LinkedIn is where they see themselves as "on show" so their profile pictures are a solid bet as to how they will dress for the interview themselves.
It's more than likely you are going to do a practice run to check out how to get there, why not time that in with a typical lunch hour 12-1 pm, in the hope you will catch some of your future colleagues nipping out for dinner.
Smart or Smart Casual
Lets get to grips with what this means! It's likely that the recruiter has already tipped you off, but what does smart or smart casual mean?
Let's start with smart!
Smart is your friend! It's easy, it means suit! Typically a simple two button navy blue or dark grey charcoal suit will hit the spot for you! A white or light blue shirt, simple polished cufflinks, a pair of dark brown, tan or black shoes and a matching belt will see you right!
Smart causal can be a little more tricky! It can feel like they are testing you, and they might be!
So here's how to beat the smart casual dilemma!
Firstly a blazer or sports jacket is a great idea, you can easily dress an outfit up or down with a well though out jacket.
Now let's swap that dress shirt for a slightly toned down cotton shirt, still freshly ironed and tucked in of course!
We can also replace the pleated trousers for some chinos, but you should still opt for a well fitted or tailored cut over lose fit baggy styles.
You can still wear a tie if you like, but keeping it simple is key here, chose a fabric that is plain or textured and fits into the look rather than a stand out statement piece.
Our Interview Accessories Guide
So you've decided upon the level of detail that is going to be expected of you and now it's time to select some accessories to go with that look. This is where details can make all the difference to your look.
The Clutch Bag Organiser
You may not have thought about this, but you want to look organised! Pack a notepad, pen and tissues in a slim organiser, you also don't want to be holding your phone, but it might come in handy towards the end for checking your available dates for interview two etc, so lets pop it in the organiser too, on silent!!
How you set out your man bag will show the potential employer you are prepared and forward thinking!
The All Important Tie
It's still the standout accessory, and if you have decided as part of your research you are going to rock up in a tie, then choice is everything.
We suggest a classic timeless tie, it's not time to bring out your favorite Christmas one I'm afraid, save that one until you get to know your colleagues and they love your weird ways!
Something that will fit into your look, add a level of style, but won't stand out as garish and take the attention away from you, or the subjects you want to talk about.
Polka dot tie sets can be a safe choice, they are part of the classic timeless designs we offer, but still have a great element of character.
Or try a paisley design, again we offer some stand out paisley designs, but something like our red wine paisley design above with a subtle pattern would be ideal, and would work with a multitude of suits.
The Tie Pin
You might not have thought about this, but the addition of a tie pin makes you stand out by 64% more than without! Again we aren't looking for the outfit to do the talking, that's your job, but a simple well selected tie pin can really enhance your look here!
Lapel pins and added pins and bars are probably too much of a distraction for an interview, but if you insist we suggest to keep it as simple as possible, blending into the outfit, rather than a statement piece at this time.
A Pocket Square
If you are going for the full suit, it won't hurt to add a simple pocket square to the look. In this case, you might want to use your square to add a splash of color, but always compliment this with a really toned down simple tie. When you take your jacket off during the sit down stage of the interview, this won't be a distraction to the real reason you are there!
If the interview is the dreaded smart causal, once again the pocket square can be your friend, here you can opt for a simple plain crisp white cotton pocket square.
For your belt we suggest a simple buckle, something small so if you are sat for a long period of time you don't feel the need to adjust it in case it digs in to your stomach.
The belt should closely match the color of your shoes, picking some smart brogues or slightly more dressy Oxfords will give you the winning combo!
Ideally again you are looking to select something smart and straight forward which is going to bring your look together. Simple is a key here, some stainless steel square faced cuff links can add that sophisticated finishing touch.
In short the interview is about you, not your accessories, but you are trying to give off a well structured look all round.
There's nothing wrong with adding a splash of colour such as the pocket square matched with a sports jacket, but the aim is to let this be a part of the complete look, not a pea cocking statement piece.
Lets use textures and solid colours to our advantage, selecting pieces that blend seamlessly together, with timeless style.
Keep it simple, effective and organised, avoiding pieces that evoke too much emotion or as we call them Marmite accessories.
Most importantly dress you!
You need to feel comfortable both physically and mentally, don't wear something you will later worry about, or be constantly fidgeting with.
An interview is designed to expose your inner insecurities, you don't want to be fiddling with a poor fitting tie throughout!
Relax, and try to enjoy it! Ensure you select the accessories that reflect you best!
Oh and good luck!