Dressing Right For The Interview

Not to sound very cliché, but first impression lasts way longer than your first sentence especially if you are going for a job interview. We all ask ourselves if our clothes really make a difference when we know for sure that we are the right candidate for the applied job.  The answer is an emphatic ‘yes’, since the first impression you make on the interviewer is going be an important factor in deciding whether or not you will get the job.

People often neglect their outlook when going for an interview, as they do not realize the importance of dressing and the overall outlook in impressing the interviewer. While there is no doubt that your qualification, skills and education are the primary assets that help in getting the required job, it is also true that the way you dress up for an interview will heavily affect your chances of getting the job.

When it comes to appearing for an important job interview, impeccable grooming is a must whether you are applying for a high level managerial post or an entry level position. In fact, your appearance can actually set the tone for the interview in the first few minutes and help the interviewer form an opinion about you, which can enhance or diminish your prospects of bagging the job. You want to demonstrate to your possible superior that you are a person who takes the interview process seriously and that you will be just as serious about your job. The best way to send this message is by showing up to the interview properly dressed up.

According to research, many interviewers make up their minds about you during the first 15 seconds of the meeting. While the job seekers prepare vehemently for the job interview, mastering their tactics, going through the prospective employer and what not, very few people know how to properly dress up for an interview. This is one of the most fatal mistakes a person can make when it comes to mishandling an interview.

Dos and Don’ts of dressing up for an interview

In the wake of the recession, the competition surrounding every job has increased manifolds and one cannot afford to lose points at any given facet. Here are a few things you can do to make sure that when you appear for an interview you are properly dressed and have made no fatal mistakes in that area.

Outfit

The first thing that the interviewer is going to note about you when you enter the room is your dress. For an interview you have to dress professional, even if the company’s general dress code is casual.  You cannot show up in jeans and a T shirt and still hope to be taken seriously. Wear a proper suit in muted color tones such as black or grey. Do not choose to wear an odd color since you might end up looking ridiculous. Make sure that the clothes you wear to an interview have been freshly cleaned and are free of wrinkles. Nothing makes a worse impression than wearing an untidy or wrinkled suit to a job interview.  Make sure that you pick out which suit or dress you are going to wear to the interview and then get it ironed or dry cleaned, whatever the case may be. Also check to see that none of the shirt buttons are missing and no other repairs are needed. Get the suit ready to be worn, the night before the interview. If your suits are too outdated and are completely in contradiction with the current fashion trends, it is time to invest in a new suit. You have to keep in mind that the investment is totally worth it since it can help in boosting your career. You do not have to go out of the way and buy an expensive piece of clothing, just find something decent and stylish within your price range.

Shoes

Make sure that the shoes that you wear are clean and traditional. Nothing can leave a worse impression than a person wearing dirty shoes to an interview. For women, wearing unprofessional and uneasy shoes gives the wrong signal. When you show up for a job interview, your entire persona should exude professionalism so that the employers get the right message. Wear comfortable yet stylish shoes since you are going to be working for 8 hours straight and your feet need to be the most comfortable.

Hair

Your hair should be freshly washed and neatly styled. Long, open and unruly hair leaves an unprofessional impression. For women, it is ideal to wear their hair up rather than leaving it down, men should trim the hair so that they give a neat and professional impression. It is advised that you give yourself a neat shave in order to create a positive impression on the interviewer.

Perfume

While smelling good is always a plus, make sure that you do not drench yourself in cologne as it can have a detrimental effect. Wearing too much perfume creates an uneasy aura when you are sitting with the interviewer in a closed room. So, it is always better to keep a balanced approached when spraying on the perfume. Moreover make sure that you choose to use a subtle fragrance so that it does not irritate the interviewer.

Jewelry

When it comes to jewelry, simplicity is the way to go. Wearing a lot of ornaments makes you look unprofessional and is distracting for the interviewer. A simple watch and a small pair of earrings is enough. Wear anything else, and you risk ruining your first impression. Also it is better to simply avoid wearing any jewelry, rather than wearing low quality things that ruin your overall look.

Makeup

While wearing makeup to an interview is essential, you have to be very careful regarding how to go about it. Apply minimum makeup since you do not want to show up looking like a fashion model. You have to appear practical in all aspects of your demeanor, so make sure that you apply make up to accentuate your basic features rather than completely going overboard.

Final check
When you are all dressed up and about to leave for the interview, make sure that you check yourself in the mirror from head to toe so that if something is amiss you can fix it before leaving.

Concluding thoughts
Scoring the perfect score in an interview is more than just having the right qualifications. Your personality, dressing sense, the way you talk and the level of confidence you exhibit during the interview, are all very important factors that help the interviewer in deciding your future. So make sure that you are fully prepared to make the best impression as soon as you enter the room. So dress to perfection to score some points with the interviewer right away. However, bear in mind that your dress alone will not do the job; you have to be well prepared and confident during the interview as well.

50 thoughts on “Dressing Right For The Interview

  1. Thanks Rozee for sharing such an interesting topic with the viewers. New comers are usually confused about dressing and are reluctant to ask; this article will definitely help them a lot.

    Regarding the dressing, I specially want to address ladies. In my 2 years of professional life, I went under 5 interviews, where I observed females with different styles.

    2 things that look very odd are long untied hair and very high heals. Ladies who have got long hair usually leave their hair untied and falling on their face, which looks too clumsy; no matter how competent you are and definitely as somebody said earlier that your dressing should not hinder your any movement comfortably, you shouldn’t be hesitant to pick your pen from floor.

    Recently, I got a chance to appear in an interview conducted for some vacancies in a hospital for psychiatric patients and drug addicted. There I saw a girl who was psychologist came with long untied hair with very high heals and wearing an extensive make up. She was taken in a ward of mentally upset patients to view her examining the patients. When she was performing an assigned task, one of the patients got rational and started shouting and running after her. Although the patient was overcome by the security guards, but that lady got a bad foot sprain and her hair brought embarrassment to other candidates who ran for her help.

  2. Thanks Rozee, for writing an excellent article.

    I have worked in 5 different organizations in the last 13 years of my career in IT in Pakistan. I have seen my fair share of various dress codes / practices.

    I would like to point out that the dressing should be according to the JD. In my current position as Manager IT for a multi-national. For example, if I’m hiring for IT Support staff, I usually prefer candidates who are not wearing ties, or suits. Dressed up in Khakis, or modest dark blue / black jeans works fine. I would want to see a candidate who is not reluctant to go under a desk and fix the wiring, instead of a tie / suit hampering his free movement.

    The dressing should be according to the JD. I am more interested in how comfortable a candidate is in the dress, with the work he’s expected to do. Suits and ties are not a must.

  3. I like your entire article. I am sure it will work for me during my interview.
    I also found your views worth noting Miss Zainab Afzal. It will be good for all the unemployed youngsters to have your suggestions. So do share it with us if possible.
    Thanks ROZEE.PK for providing us a platform where we can get the answers of all our queries as well as good job opportunities.

  4. I like this article very much as it includes all the necessary tips for a new employee. Hope that you will continue to help us this way. Thanks to all the staff of ROZEE.PK

  5. The reason I read this article was because I wanted to know how females should dress for a job interview in Pakistan. I live and work in NYC as an auditor and am involved in the recruitment process of my firm as well.
    Everything in the article is to the point, but depending on the position you are applying for, there can be modifications.
    A navy blue suit with white shirt and a maroon tie is considered the standard uniform of a male accountant/auditor. I once had a professor in one of my Communications class in grad school who wore nothing but this every single day and he had set aside 10 points for ‘appropriate’ dressing towards the final grade.
    According to him the female version of the uniform was a knee length navy blue skirt-suit with a white shirt and a strand of pearls, with small earrings and light to no-make (if you must, just put on some foundation to even out ur skin tone, light mascara and lip gloss).
    I of course did not get the 10 points because I substituted the skirt with a pant. But this did not impact my job hunt as I interviewed with 5 firms and got job offers from 4 of them, and I wore black suit with lilac shirt, grey suit with white shirt and yeah of course the navy blue suit too. So in the end all that matters is your confidence, knowledge and interest in the firm you are applying for. But as said in the article, “first impression lasts way longer than your first sentence ” so yeah do dress appropriately
    BUT I highly doubt this attire will work well for an interview in Pakistan, so i was hoping to get a clear picture of what is acceptable for females in Pakistan. As in what is considered “female business attire” what type should it be, what color should it be? how should the duppata be handled? what shoes should be worn?
    Some other things to consider:
    — If you are not wearing a tie, do not take your shirt collar out of your suit jacket (you’ll look a lot cooler but your prospective employer is concerned with your work not your cool looks!)
    — dont forget to take the tags off of your suits. Trust me ur employer doesnt want to knw if ur wearing a Ralph Lauren suit.
    — the article forgot to mention A FIRM HAND SHAKE ! …Very important. but make sure your palms are not sweaty. Shaking hands should be the 1st thing after you walk into the interview room. If the employer does not already have his hand extended, you make the move – extend your hand and as the interviewer shakes it, make eye contact and give a genuine smile (make sure you do not shake hand for too long, or too hard, or too clumsily) n smile politely to show you are pleased to meet them, this will also show your confidence.
    –for girls, must wear pumps with closed toes. The heels should not be more than 2 1/2 – 3 inches. Please do not wear thick or opaque socks! Use skin color, pantyhose type of nylon socks.

    At some point I want to move to Pakistan and explore the job market there but I need to know what is considered right while going on an interview, without looking too out of place or inappropriate.
    Thanks in advance and I hope the little bit i know about interviewing will help those of you who are struggling to land the right job in this tough economic times!

  6. A very informative article that can be fruitful for a lot of job seekers. There are a few things that lead us to failure in our job search. I think if this article is being read by job seekers then they can get the desired results.
    Best of Luck to all job seekers.

  7. Dressing is the first thing that makes an impression when you meet someone, its speak that how organized and careful you are.

  8. Carry on ROZEE.PK,it is such a fantastic and readable article. All readers please make sure that you go through it.

  9. This article is really informative but can anybody tell me what looks good if a woman goes for interview. How should a female dress up in order to get the job.

  10. Nice Information, really very helpful for the students who are going to start their career soon.

  11. No doubt an excellent article. I think selection of fine dressing increases your level of confidence when you appear for an interview.

  12. Very interesting points. I really learned a lot through these points regarding how to dressed up for an interview. Thanks ROZEE.PK

  13. Mr. Amir Shah, it is best to wear formal clothes for an interview for a corporate position or for a government job. However, if the candidate is persistent on wearing a Shalwar Qameez then it should be freshly washed, properly starched and ironed well. The color should be dull, dark or white. A well fitting fully buttoned up waist coat over the Shalwar Qameez leaves a good impression. It’s best not to wear sandals or chappals with the shalwar qameez. Dark colored and properly polished shoes create a better impression.

  14. Mr. Tahir Nadeem, if you intend to wear a tie then the sweater should be V shaped at the neck. A round shape sweater can do if you do not intend to wear a tie. The color of the sweater should not be bright or gaudy. Darker tones leave a better impression about the seriousness of a candidate. Heavy set individuals should avoid wearing sweaters. A protruding belly in a tight fitting sweater is a complete no no. It is always best to chose a suit instead of a sweater. Sweaters are considered casual dress.

  15. Great article and head on. Dress does indeed shape the way the interview is going to progress. A bath is also essential . So many young people with a hormonal overload appear for an interview smelling like yesterday’s laundry. Too much oil in the hair is another negative point. Along with the right, proper and fitting dress one would do good to wear a confident look. A half smile helps to break the ice, as they say, in a formal interview. Eye contact that conveys respect for the interviewer is a plus point no matter whether the interviewer is a male or a female.

  16. Most of the candidates ignore this thing, so we should keep in our mind that first impression is the last impression.

  17. Excellent article, it is a good effort by ROZEE.PK for the persons who are ready to enter the professional life.

  18. Two thumbs up. A very nice effort indeed by the writer. The way ROZEE.PK is adding to the knowledge of students and professionals is really impressive. Great job. Keep it up.

  19. It is a really nice article. Indeed the first few minutes of the interaction in interview will leave a lasting impression, so the right dressing will ensure that you enhance your prospects in the interview. Thus one should be mindful about proper dressing along with other factors for an effective interview. Your dress will support you throughout your interview. I congratulate the author for this fantastic article.

  20. Indeed some of the tips in this article are very useful. Though minor, yet these things if managed properly can really earn you a good impression.

  21. Everything is very well said in this article. Dressing up properly is one of the essential things while going for the interview but most of the people neglect this. The way one dresses up reflects his/her persona at the first glance so one should always keep in mind all these things when appearing for an interview.

  22. How Men Should Dress for an Interview
    • Classic Suit (solid color, dark color)
    • Long sleeved shirt (white or coordinated with suit)
    • Belt
    • Tie
    • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
    • Little or no jewelry
    • Minimal cologne/aftershave
    • Neatly trimmed nails
    • Portfolio, briefcase

  23. Excellent article, no doubt about it. In addition to dressing well, eye contact & confidence is also the most important thing in an interview.

  24. It is an excellent article and through this you can understand the value of dressing right for the interview, in other words dress for success.

  25. I do not agree with the respected writer of this article at all, if the writer is taking the dress code in modern dressing context only. One doesn’t need to wear a pant shirt necessarily for an interview, though the interviewee should be modestly dressed. A modest dress can be a shalwar qameez also. If the interviewer is judging the interviewee mainly because the interviewee is wearing shalwar qameez, then I believe that interviewer doesn’t deserve his current position as a hiring authority, because he is stereotyping and could end up loosing the opportunity of hiring a worthy employee.

  26. Excellent article. Can any body tell me two things, firstly what type of sweater is ok to wear with dress pants (like V-shape or round shape neck). Secondly is eye contact with a female interviewer ok?

  27. It is really useful information for job seekers especially for those appearing for there first job interview.

  28. No doubt an excellent article. I think local culture and customs are also crucial. After careful selection of the dress he or she must keep in mind the culture and traditions of the vicinity which are vary from district to district, because inhabitants of some district are hesitant and very much reluctant to dress in other then their local dresses.

  29. Excellent article. Overall article is very interesting rather the conclusion’s last line is the most interesting one, “However, bear in mind that your dress alone will not do the job”. I would like to add that your belt is also a part of your dress, it would be better if it matches with your shoes. Also don’t keep an unmatched pen in your pocket. If you think contrast will better suit then go with it, but it must not be an ordinary pen. Moreover, Syed Moqaddas’s comment about perfume/cologne is dead on.

  30. Indeed an excellent article. I would like to add a few points that I think are crucial too. After careful selection of the dress, make sure you are comfortable in it. Which means, no matter how good it looks or how expensive it is, one’s confidence dips if the dress has been worn for the first time, and is not comfortable etc. Also make sure you know what you are wearing. I have an example where the candidate was asked, “nice perfume, which is it?” and the guy was like, “ummm, I don’t really remember the name but its a transparent bottle with a silver cap!” So know what you have on.

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