Oh, What To Wear?!? Appropriate Interview Attire

Career Consultant Certificate student Debra Hand provides interview attire advice!

Career Consultant Certificate student Debra Hand provides interview attire advice!

Have you ever woke up and couldn’t decide what to wear?  Now imagine the added stress of figuring out what to wear to a job interview?!?!?! There are many steps one can do to ensure they are properly attired. Let’s begin.

If you are not sure what to wear, you can begin by checking out the employer’s office.  If it is a public office, casually go in, walk around and see what everyone is wearing.  If the building is a secured building and you have no way of entering, grab a coffee and hang out outside the building and watch the people coming and going.  Once you have a sense on what everyone is wearing, you can then begin to put together your “interview outfit.”  This process has two positives outcomes; the first is you have an idea of what the employees wear and what the office culture is like, and second, you know where you are going for your interview.  So not only will you look great and fit in, you won’t be late!

If you cannot do either of the previous steps, error on the side of caution.  I suggest business casual which could consist of, for the ladies, dress pants or a knee length skirt, blouse and a blazer if you have one.  Do not show too much leg or too much cleavage.  For the gents, dress pants, dress shirt and tie, or sweater over dress shirt, tie optional. One thing to keep in mind is not to dress too formal, unless the type of job you are interviewing for calls for it.  Keep your colours dark or neutral tones as this will enable the interview to focus on your skills and not the loud colours of your outfit.  Shoes should be clean and polished and for goodness sake, do not wear running shoes and especially for the ladies, no flip flops!!!

Be sure that your outfit is clean and pressed and ready the day before the interview.  There is nothing worse than running around at the last minute trying to get everything ready and this step definitely will take alot of stress off the preparations for your interview.

When it comes to personal hygiene and grooming, it is suggested that you shower, nobody wants to interview someone who smells badly.  It has also been said that “you are what you eat” so be careful of the types of foods you eat before an interview.  I know I have spoken to someone who has eaten a very spicy dish and it wasn’t a very pleasant conversation.  I couldn’t wait to get away for them.  And please, please, please, refrain from too much perfume or cologne as you could be interviewed by someone who has scent allergies.  Also, for the ladies, if you choose to wear makeup, keep it neutral and light.  Finally, the one thing I personally do when I dress for any event, is look in the mirror to see if I’m overdone.  If I have to second guess what I am wearing, including accessories, I avoid wearing these items.

If you keep all of these tips in mind and are prepared and organized, you are sure to make a great first impression when you meet with your prospective employer.

Debra Hand is a student of the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. For more information about the world of work including tips and techniques, be sure to follow MCACESblogs! For more information about the Career Consultant Certificate, please contact Lidia Siino at lidia.siino@mohawkcollege.ca.

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