The candidate has mastered the application, cover letter, and resume and now they have landed an interview. As much as credentials, education, and intelligent communication skills matter – you could be doomed if you make a negative first impression. Now I’ve always been taught that someone will make a visual judgment on whether they like you or dislike you in the first few minutes of meeting you. Before you even have a chance to open your mouth the potential employer has formed an opinion based entirely on your appearance. So, dressing appropriately for the interview is extremely important. I just can’t believe the amount of potential candidates that front up to our Perth office in the CBD, dressed worse that I would if I was going to mow the lawn. Seriously, 50% in my opinion are underdressed, why? Are they trying to act cool, do they believe it’s all about ability and what they wear is unimportant. Newsflash!! Well is does matter to employers, I had a client call me just last week, that actually takes a tie to the office on the days he is interviewing candidates to show some respect for the occasion, he was venting his frustration at the amount of candidate that show up in jeans and t-shirts for office roles, and views them negatively immediately. Why take the risk, it doesn’t hurt to dress up once in a while.
I think the minimum dress for men is a business shirt, dress pants and dress shoes, regardless of role. It doesn’t need to be expensive but well fitting and in date. I understand that some people are meeting during their working day, and they may wear a uniform however planning in advance and carrying a spare shirt in the car for the day and changing for the interview should not be much trouble. Even if you are dressing for a role as a Project Manager on site, I think it is important to make a professional impression, you want to show respect for the company and the interviewer and the best way is to demonstrate through your appearance that you are taking this meeting very seriously.
If ever in doubt what to wear, I believe you are always better to dress up than dress down.
Now for the ladies, you want to impress with your professionalism not your body, however a good pair of legs may get you farther in some companies than an MBA, but do you want to work for that organisation on that premises? This is not the time to show off your cleavage and your most daring mini skirt. You want to dress in a way that shows you appreciate good fashion and taste.
If you have made it this far to the interview stage, you obviously have the hard skills nailed, now the objection is to make a good first impression, show respect to the interviewer by demonstrating you have made an effort with your attire, demonstrate you are capable and confident and you are pretty much on the way to a new career.