With the end of another year of college approaching, malady and with most of us looking for work over the summer – or life if it’s the final year! – it’s time to look at what to wear for an interview in the increasingly competitive job market. Before ever setting foot over the threshold of your potential employer’s office, sales understand what kind of work you’re being interviewed for. Turning up dressed in the wrong way can be an utter disaster.
Clerical, professional, business and sedentary roles generally call for a more business smart or business casual type of attire, and are definitely not something you could show up to with a pair of jeans on.
Fashion retail stores look for someone with more imagination in their style, and are unlikely to be impressed by someone wearing a penguin suit. Roles in specialty fields are likely to be happy with someone who looks neat and presentable, and are more interested in your ability, qualifications and your achievements.
For a clerical or sedentary role- Just because you’re tossed into a world of suits doesn’t necessarily mean you have to blend in like the rest. Don’t be so quick to choose black pants, matching jacket and a shirt, the rest of the interviewees will pick the exact same.
Many people opt for a knee length, plain, black pencil skirt and a white blouse, which can sound boring, but can be adjusted to give a nod to your sense of style with a great bag and shoes.
If you were an employer who had two candidates in mind with similar attributes and achievements but one dressed in a plain black suit and the other dressed in something work appropriate but with a bit of their own style, you’d probably hire the latter.
This is because rather than choosing someone safe, boring and unimaginative, they’ve gone for something less conventional, but which works really well.
Try a fitted or shift style dress that comes to the knee and doesn’t show cleavage, pairing with matching heels. As bad as the film is, look at what Hilary Duff’s character in Beauty and the Briefcase wears to work and feed from that – she looked über chic at the workplace even if her attire is a bit dated for the majority of the movie!
For a fashion retail role- When I went to a group interview for my first job in a fashion retail chain there were four other people there. The first girl wore the bog standard penguin suit; the second wore black pants, pumps, a cardigan and a shirt from that shop; the third, a guy, wore a shirt, jeans and old school shoes; the final girl wore black leather skinnies, a black top, grey blazer and heels. I wore chinos, heels, a lace top and a blazer. The girl with the leather skinnies and I with my chinos got the job.
Leather skinnies girl and the rest had plenty of retail experience whereas I and the guy were the only two without relevant work experience.
Fair enough, the guy spent most of the time talking about tractors and no one really understood what he was saying, but it really goes down to who dressed the most appropriately in that situation, and not so much about experience.
Keep the type of clothes the store sells in mind before going to the interview, the best thing to do is to have a look at what the staff there are wearing and try to echo that.
Obviously, unless it’s Hollister or something, it’s probably better to put a pair of heels on too, but if you’re not that happy about heels, a pair of pretty ballet flats are perfectly acceptable. This is one interview where you aren’t as limited in terms of dressing as you would be with others.
Other forms of retail and leisure roles – Let’s be real here; most of the employees in retail other than fashion are subjected to a black uniform, so for this case black pants and a blouse will be fine. I’d still recommend wearing a black dress to the knee with a blazer and heels as it gives off a sense of professionalism. Of course, if you’re going for an interview for beauty advisory or hairdressing, then having your hair and makeup well-done well is a given.
Roles in specialty fields- You’re best to follow advice of the clerical and sedentary if you’re applying for a job within your degree.
If you’re applying for some kind of physical labour, you aren’t required to be very dressed up for the interview, it’s something you should wear pants to – but not an event which warrants heels and a fabulous handbag to match.
Always remember to have something in your wardrobe which is interview friendly, as sometimes interviews can be sprung on you with only a day’s notice.
If you’re ever in doubt, err on the side of formality and wear black, it’s always better to be overdressed rather than underdressed.