Finance Work Don’t mess up: what to wear to a job interview

Don’t mess up: what to wear to a job interview

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You only get to make one first impression when you meet a potential boss.

And depending on what you choose to wear, that impression can range from ‘powerful contender’ to ‘unwanted cast-off’.

When we first meet someone, our subconscious makes hundreds of tiny judgements in just a few seconds.

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With that in mind, it’s crucial to present the best version of you, in the most appropriate way, when you go for a job.

Certain companies will encourage informal dress.
Certain companies will encourage informal dress.

Hundreds of studies have tried to pin down the perfect interview outfit, but it’s horses for courses.

The best you can do is to follow these four general rules.

Dress for the job

Of course, different jobs will call for different attire.

You wouldn’t be expected to dress like a lawyer for an interview with a tech startup, so don’t.

Do some research. Do you know anyone who works at the company you’re interviewing for, or at one similar? Ask their advice.

But remember, it’s always better to overdress than underdress – you don’t want to be the pair of sneakers amongst the high heels.


One American study researched the best colours to wear to a job interview.

Surveying thousands of employers, the research concluded that colours such as black, blue, grey and brown conveyed a sense of professionalism.

Red conveyed power, white organisation, and green, yellow, orange and purple all projected a creative streak.

An all-purple get up might not be the best choice for a management position.
An all-purple get up might not be the best choice for a finance position.

The safest bet? Stick with a neutral colour unless you’re in a creative industry, and avoid anything that may distract your interviewer from your impressive personal pitch.

Work with what you’ve got

Studies have shown attractive people are more likely to land a dream job.

In one Italian study, attractive women had a 54 per cent callback rate, while the average Joe (with an identical CV) was only 30 per cent likely to receive a call.

Furthermore, an Argentinian study found unattractive people were more discriminated against than racial minorities.

The lesson here is not that you need to change the way you look. You just need to present the most attractive version of yourself.

That means clean hair, glowing skin and clothes that flatter your body type.

Don’t forget body language

Even the perfect ‘hire me’ outfit won’t help if your body language is sending the wrong message.

Remembering how important first impressions are, make sure to approach the interviewer with a confident and engaging manner, and smile and look them in the eye when you shake hands.

When you sit down, don’t fidget or move around, but assure the interviewer you are interested in what they have to say by practising active listening techniques.

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All images vis Shutterstock.

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