So your application has been processed, and you have made it through to the first stage of the interview process. Now the hard work starts.

What we wear to express ourselves is something that is entirely up to each individual person, and freedom to express with clothing is a basic human right. However, when it comes to going for an interview, there are some strict professional norms, that must be adhered to if you want to create the right impression in the interview.

We have all heard some stories from friends and in the media around people who have gaffed regarding interviews, but sometimes these gaffes are around attire, and this is really nothing that should ever cause a problem.

When applying for jobs in an office, there is quite a strict code around what is classed as appropriate for interviews, and this is something that is a tried and tested, everyone knows it situation that follows common sense. At no point has it ever been a good idea to go to an interview either over, or under dressed.

There have been innumerable studies done on how long it takes to make a ‘first impression’ and none of them have agreed to there being one specific number of seconds to be the definitive amount. One thing that has been agreed, is that it between seven and thirty. This is not a great amount of time, and no one wants to be remembered for the wrong reasons.

If you wish to present yourself in the best way, then if you have one, wear a good business suit. This does need to be well fitting, sized correctly and pressed. Unkempt or untidy will count against you, even in a suit, if you look unpolished. If you don’t have a suit that you feel is right, then pair smart trousers or skirt and a shirt. Again, make sure that all items are clean and pressed.

Shoes are something that must always be clean and polished. Women avoid skyscraper heels as, if for any reason they start pinching, it can be seen in your face. The other reason is the obvious one, as you don’t know the layout of the building, nor how many sets of stairs you may need to navigate, and no one wants to fall over at the feet of a potential employer. For men a standard pair of gentleman’s Oxfords, Brogues or something that looks as smart would do nicely.

Hosiery is another point to be aware of. Men need to keep sock colours muted, it might seem a great idea to be remembered for wearing a pair of bright red socks that really stand out, but the interviewer may not see it as you meant it. Women try not to go barelegged but wear a pair of either black or nude hosiery.

Shirts and tops must always be clean and pressed, and ties must always be sensible and work appropriate. Don’t wear a giant one with Donald Duck, or one that sings seasonal songs. The interviewer is looking for reasons to hire you as a candidate, not reasons to cross your name off the list.

Clothing is not the only aspect that candidates are judged on. Body language, confidence, tone of voice and the handshake are a few other areas to be aware of. If you are dressed smartly, and know your area of expertise, the interviewer will remember you for the right reasons.


For further advice on finding the right job role for you, please contact us here to discuss the next career step.