First impressions for a job interview are not only summarized by your confidence, attitude and communication. The largest variable is what the employer sees as you walk into the office. Your image should be a specific reflection of what the rest of your first impression will entail. Is this always the case? Can you ever be overdressed for a job interview? The answer is yes. Being overdressed or flashy can be as detrimental as being underdressed, but don’t let this worry you too much. After all, the point of the interview is to gain a greater insight to your character and skills, not your fashion sense.
The common motto is to dress for success but what is “success” to the company that is interviewing you? You can begin determining what the correct dress code is for your particular interview by either visiting the place of employment to see what others are wearing, do background research to get a better understanding of the style of the company or simply ask while talking to the employer about your interview what the work dress code is and use the same dress code for your interview.
If a dress code cannot be predicted, assume a style that requires a tie or in a woman’s case, adequate formal wear. The fact it is referred to as a “dress” code means that when you refer to what you are wearing, you would not say jeans or t-shirts but dress pants or a dress shirt. Although wearing professional clothing can do nothing to undermine your possibilities of acquiring a new job, you still need to consider what not to wear.
By creating a list of what you know you should not wear, you have a small number of options to choose from. From there you can go with your gut or pick the most professional attire that is not over-the-top. At the same time, what you wear is not the only determining factor for your appearance. It would be wise to cover up any tattoos, remove multiple piercings, and avoid carrying any accessories with you into the job interview. Don’t let your future employer catch you chewing gum while on the interview, hear your keys or phone jingle or listen to you sip coffee.
Above all, do not let any specific dress codes force you to put on a false identity. Use the knowledge you have acquired and your judgment to decide what best represents what the employer is looking for at the same time as what communicates your personality, interests and qualities.
In a job interview you are marketing yourself. Your appearance is the first quality that is taken into account on whether you will be hired or not. It can be estimated that at least 51% of the decision is based off of your appearance. This means that by dressing inappropriately, even if you nail the rest of the interview, you would still be up for rejection. Remember, your appearance may only be a supporting role in your job interview, but you should put as much effort into it as the major role.