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interview dress

Ten top tips for what to wear for a successful interview

By General

As Director of a growing independent recruitment agency based in Lancaster, Lancashire I am often asked by candidates going to interview what is best to wear and several stories always come to mind including this one.

One button too far

Many years ago I was asked to find a person to join a fantastic company. I sent along four experienced hand-picked candidates and as always had my front runner in the back of my mind. The one candidate whom I knew ticked all the boxes and would most certainly get the job. After a long day, I finally managed to catch up with the hiring manager and we sat down for a feedback session on each candidate.

I waited for him to say great things about my candidate which he did but then he finally dropped the bombshell. She was perfect for the job in many ways but he felt really uncomfortable that her blouse was unbuttoned one button too far down. Meaning, he spent the whole interview trying not to accidentally gaze at her lacy underwear, and, for this reason alone he did not want to hire her.

Now some people might say that this may have been an accident on her behalf but it was enough to put this Manager off and the woman did not get a second interview. I realised at this point that it is essential to put more thought into what you wear ( and how you wear it) than one might think. I have also had candidates call me on the morning of the interview to say they have put on weight and can’t get into their trousers buttoned-up ( and one chap who left his iron on his shirt too long and burnt through his sleeve). So, even if you are going for a job where you won’t need to wear a suit to work I would always advise to dress your professional best for your interview and it will pay dividends.

Top Ten Tips

So my Top ten tips…( they might sound old fashioned but this is all from interview feedback from my clients and candidates over the last eighteen years )

  1. At least 24/ 48 hours before your interview pick out your best business office wear (suit/ trousers and shirt or dress/ skirt and blouse) and try it on for size.
  2. Consider getting it dry cleaned in time or, iron it the night before and hang it up ready
  3. Look at what shoes you are going to wear and make sure they are polished.
  4. Imagine if you are invited to go on a tour of the factory/ workshop. Can you walk in your shoes up and down metal stairs safely?
  5. Try to avoid glitter eye shadow as this is often not a good look especially at 10 am in the morning
  6. If in doubt wear a tie with a shirt and button it up if possible to the top button
  7. Facial hair is fine but if you want to look smart then trim accordingly
  8. Try not to put your hands in the pockets of jackets or suit trousers ( can look untidy)
  9. Don’t overdo it on perfume or aftershave
  10. Check before you go in that your blouse is buttoned up, or, your trousers are zipped up!

Ultimately companies want to hire people whom they can see have made a real effort to look smart and so attention to detail is key as this speaks volumes about what sort of person may be joining them.

As the old saying goes ‘ You never get a second chance to make a first impression’

  • Also if you have any interview tips or disaster stories to add? I would love to read them in the comments below.

If you want to find talented new staff, or, find a rewarding new job please see Mandy Blackwell Recruitment Agency Lancaster website where you will find a list of our vacancies and a contact number.

  • Also if you have any interview tips or disaster stories to add? I would love to read them in the comments below.