It only takes a matter of seconds for a prospective employer to form an opinion about a job applicant based on his appearance. That's what job interviews are all about: making a memorable and positive first impression. By following dress code guidelines for an interview, job seekers demonstrate to the interviewer that they would fit in with the company's atmosphere.
Interview dress codes typically fall into the categories of business attire or business casual attire. Business attire is the more formal of the two and usually requires male applicants to don a dark suit and tie and women to wear a suit with tailored trousers or a skirt. Business casual is a term that is more open to interpretation, depending on the company. According to Career Services at Virginia Tech, khakis or dark trousers, long-sleeved sweaters or button-down shirts, or--in the most casual cases--polo shirts are all appropriate business casual choices for both men and women.
To determine the appropriate dress code for an interview, QuintCareers.com suggests that job applicants drop by the office to observe what the other employees wear on a day-to-day basis or simply call the Human Resources department to ask. Once the appropriate dress code has been established, applicants should take it up a level--such as wearing a tie in a business casual environment--to show that they are serious about the interview and the job, reports Workopolis.com
In a job interview, it's more important to look professional, polished and neat than it is it to look fashionable. Erring on the conservative side is the safest choice, says QuintCareers.com. For women, this means wearing skirts that fall slightly below the knee and blouses with modest necklines. For men, suits in a dark navy or grey are the best bet, and belts should match shoes, according to QuintCareers.com. Shirts and ties should be subdued and conservative, and socks should match either trousers or shoes, says Workopolis.com.
Several factors besides clothing, such as footwear, jewellery and grooming, also contribute to a job candidate's overall appearance in an interview. Regardless of the dress code, polished dress shoes that are in good condition are appropriate for both men and women, says Workopolis.com. QuintCareers.com recommends neatly styled hair, cleaned and trimmed nails, and minimal jewellery.
Distractions come in many forms and can cause the interviewer to focus more on the applicant's appearance than what she's saying. Distractions to avoid in an interview, according to Workopolis.com, include too much perfume or cologne, excessive jewellery and chewing gum, to name a few. Interviewees should give themselves enough time before the interview to do one last check in the mirror to make the best first impression possible, reports QuintCareers.com.
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