Interviews are all about first impressions and what you wear can go a long way in telling people who you are before you’ve even started speaking. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your outfit, but putting in a little extra effort to choose the right attire can help you in the long run. It takes interviewers less than 2.2 seconds to judge you by what you wear. 55% of your initial impression comes from the way you dress. Your decision about what to wear can tell a story about who you are at work. Here are a few tips about what you should avoid wearing at your next job interview:
Say NO to flashy colors:
Though bright colors get you noticed quicker, it’s not a good idea to choose a bright color for your interview day. Steer clear of red, which can make you seem heavier and yellow, which is the most difficult color for the eye to perceive. Choose neutrals like gray, black, brown or white to portray a simple and clean look.
Less is more:
Tone down on jewelry which could be distracting instead of enhancing your look. Keep it simple. A dazzling piece of heavy necklace or earrings are sure to betray a professional look. For men, the betrayer can be your funky piece of tie you choose to wear to make a difference. It indeed does make a difference but not a positive one for sure. Make sure your handbag/sling bag (a backpack or a fannypack is definitely a faux pas.) is well-organized. This says a lot about how efficient you are. If you are carrying a portfolio, consider carrying it on an iPad. This shows that you are tech-savvy and well-prepared. At the same time, make sure you do not take out the portfolio until asked for.
Put your best foot forward:
They say you can tell a lot about a person by just looking at his shoes. Sneakers and sandals are a big no-no when it comes to a formal interview setting. Even if you know the office environment is going to be casual, be cautious of looking too casual as this reflects on your attitude towards work as well. A pair of basic peep-toes with medium heels or ballet flats would work just right with any outfit. Men can go for basic formal shoes letting the slip ons stay on the shelves. Do not wear a pair of shoes that is an antipode to your belt. Make sure they complement/match.
Denim spells disaster:
Though it’s an easy choice, it’s always better to leave out denim (in any form) when choosing what to wear for an interview. You’d rather be overdressed, than sloppy. Anything baggy and loose should be avoided as well. Ill-fitted clothes give you an air of negligence.
The last thing you want to be worrying about at an interview is someone focusing too much on what you look like instead of what you are saying. If you’re wearing a blazer, make sure your top is not V-necked. Be watchful of your hemlines and necklines. Revealing more than what is conventionally appropriate projects you as careless and rebellious which is not going to favor you in an interview. This applies to guys as well. Ditch your graphic tee and choose a button-down to wear under your blazer or formal jacket. Your outfit must be comfortable for you as well as your interviewer.
Too much cologne:
Body odor plays an important factor when it comes to first impressions. Wear a good deodorant or perfume. But do not overdo it. Some may even be allergic to strong smells and this could be a big turn-off. At the same time, it’s important to note that turning up sweaty is not an option. If this is an issue, make sure you’re early and have time to cool down before hand. Also ensure you wear fabrics that do not make it too obvious.
Make up makes you look made-up:
Dark eye shadows, bright glossy lipsticks or heavy foundation deserve a strict NO for interviews. Looking your best is important but losing your originality in the efforts is useless. For men, gelled Mohawk like hairstyles are equivalent to women’s overdone make-up. Your unnatural efforts to look good will only make you look false and unreliable. Nude makeup and a basic neat hairstyle is your best bet for an interview. Shuffle off any facial/mouth piercings or visible tattoos.
Over the top outfits:
Healthy experimenting is not prohibited for interviews but being too innovative with your outfit might drag you down on the scale of first impression. Avoid too bright and large-patterned clothes (especially pants). Animal prints are just not made for interviews. Where subtle monochrome patterns might spice up your outfit to the apt levels, loud patterns will do the exact opposite. Women must skip the fishnets or patterned hosiery stockings and men must ward off the temptation to wear a formal wool blazer in a summer interview.
Though your attire cannot give an interviewer reason enough to reject you, it can play an important part in getting to know who you are and how seriously you take the job opportunity. Confidence and body language go hand-in-hand in completing the picture. So smile, be confident and you’re sure to come out a winner.
Author: Aditya Singhal is the co-founder of transtutors.com, a leading online Q&A database company providing help for college students. Outside of work, Aditya has a personal interest in helping students with their career aspirations and skill development.