How to dress for interviews…and do you really need to wear a suit?

Making the best impression at job interviews is not always about what you say. Your clothes, hair and overall look can speak volumes.

If you’ve been out of work for a while, or are branching into a new career or sector, you may wonder what the protocol is style wise…it can get a little confusing to say the least. and the pressure of making the best first impression you can doesn’t help matters, either.

Here are some tips to get the balance right and win over a recruiter:

1. Trousers or skirt?
There is no rule of thumb about wearing trousers or skirts to job interviews. A bandage skirt won’t look great if you’re applying for a job that’s at senior management level – but a smart trouser suit will, for example.

Try to wear the one that you feel most comfortable in, and the one that you have the best choices in.

2. Overdressed or underdressed?
There is a myth that you have to wear a suit to every job interview in every industry.

The truth is, if you wear a suit to a job interview for the local chippy, you’d probably look a little foolish. A smart dress would do the job just as well and wouldn’t leave you looking out of place.

You’ll have to use your judgement – speak to relatives and friends if you get stuck on what to wear.

3. Flashy or conservative?
Your budget may determine what you wear to a job interview as well. If you can afford a nice pair of LK Bennett shoes, for example, and the job role and industry warrants it then by all means do. If you don’t have the budget, pop down to the local high street stores or look online for a bargain pair of court shoes that fall within your budget.

4. If in doubt, spy
If you can, try to pass by your potential new workplace before the interview – this is good practice anyway, so you know exactly where it is and aren’t trying to find it on the day of the interview.

Obviously, you won’t stand outside the building gazing at everyone who walks inside (the security guards will remember you as the strange woman who was behaving bizarrely!), just stand at a convenient bus stop, or pretend to be making a phonecall near enough to the building to see the dress code.

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Written by Joycellyn Akuffo

Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.

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