How the right interview outfit can help you project confidence
By Rikki Wimmer
A positive impression and a confidence boost ‒ why you should dress for success in your interview.
There’s a lot more to choosing an interview outfit than you might think. Research shows that not only does your clothing impact how others might perceive you, but it also impacts how you perceive yourself.
For example, let’s take a look at the power suit. Made famous in the 1980s, the ‘power suit’ refers to the classic business suits worn by men and women in the corporate world that were made to project confidence and authority. Today, the term ‘power suit’ can be used more broadly to reflect any outfit that makes the wearer ooze confidence and feel like they can command any room they step into.
This concept is particularly useful when it comes to interviews because you interview at your best when you feel confident. Therefore, choosing the right interview outfit is crucial.
So, how can your interview outfit help you project confidence?
Our careers expert, Amanda Augustine, recently tackled this question in a piece by Female First. You can view the full article here, but read on for a summary of Amanda’s interview outfit tips and more.
Company culture matters
When it comes to selecting the right interview outfit, Amanda recommends researching the company dress culture before hitting your closet. What might be appropriate work attire at one company could be ill-suited for another. For example, an interview at a creative startup is likely to be less formal than if you were interviewing at a bank.
Therefore, check the company website and LinkedIn page or ask the HR manager about the dress code prior to the interview. According to Amanda, ‘Your goal is to dress as though you already work at the company and are attending an important meeting.’
Plan your outfit in advance
Avoid unnecessary stress the morning of your interview and plan your outfit in advance. There’s nothing worse than spending time worrying about what you’re going to wear and then leaving the house unhappy with your outfit. If you’re stressed or bothered, it’ll show in the interview.
Give yourself the best shot at a great first impression by being prepared and planning ahead. Know what you’re wearing ahead of time so you can focus on other important things on the day like arriving on time and practising your interview responses.
It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed
If you’re ever unsure of the dress code, Augustine recommends playing it safe. Always choose to be slightly overdressed rather than risk showing up underdressed. Consider this: If you walk into an interview slightly overdressed, it’ll show the hiring manager that you’ve made an effort and you’re serious about the job. However, if you walk in underdressed, you’re in danger of projecting a sense of indifference. The general rule here is: If in doubt, dress up not down.
You’re allowed to be yourself
While it’s important to pay attention to the company dress code, it’s also important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. Be sure to pick an outfit that ticks all the boxes: work appropriate, polished and comfortable. If you feel good in what you’re wearing, your confidence will follow.
Similarly, don’t feel like you have to compromise your personal style for professionalism. Whether you feel your best in a beautifully tailored skirt or structured blazer, pick an outfit that suits your shape and makes you feel empowered.
When it comes to accessorising, Amanda recommends following the 80/20 rule: keep it 80 per cent classic and 20 per cent individual. Select one statement piece and keep the rest to a minimum. By letting your personality shine through in your outfit and picking pieces that make you feel good, you’ll give yourself your best chance at a confident and successful interview.
Do a dress rehearsal
Imagine planning your outfit days in advance only to try it on the morning of the interview and realise it doesn’t fit. Or your jacket is missing a button. Or maybe there’s a hole in the seam of your pants. Whatever it is, you want to avoid it.
Therefore, do a dress rehearsal a few days beforehand and try on everything from head to toe. If anything is not fitting right, you’ll have time to change it.
It may seem trivial to put so much thought into what you will wear to an interview, but first impressions count. The way you present yourself to a potential employer can speak volumes about the type of employee you will be. Therefore, it’s within your interest to take every opportunity you have to let the HR manager know why they should hire you – and it all starts with presentation.
So do your research, dress for success, and let your confidence shine through.