Your job interview starts in two hours and you haven’t selected what to wear. Your wardrobe is neatly packed and sorted, but it’s a challenge to pick anything out. The importance of this meeting makes it tougher for you to decide between the blue and the red tie.
Lianne Smuts, a corporate image consultant for 1st Solutions, advises that researching the company that will be interviewing you is beneficial. “The brand will also determine how ‘serious’ one’s dress code should be,” says Smuts.
The first impressions that potential bosses receive from you will play a part in deciding whether or not you get the job. The market has evolved to the extent where each industry endorses different office attire. Corporate spaces, for example, prefer muted clothing. Your yellow tie may have seemed like a good decision in the morning, but brighter colours don’t often elicit feelings of commitment or dependability.
Darker shades are safer options that tend to positively sway interviewers. Characteristics such as leadership, being a team-player, and organisational skills are incited by assorted hues of grey and blue. Wearing a black suit may imply that you are unapproachable and arrogant.
Take note of colour contrasts and how they affect the perception of authority. High contrasts – combining two bold colours in the same outfit – lean more toward ‘power dressing’ situations that people in high authority would opt for. “To avoid power clashing with the interviewer, medium contrasts are advisable.” Smuts says.
The creative industries allow for more freedom. You’ll be forgiven for tossing the suit aside and wearing an unstructured blazer and bright, tailored pants. An intricate shirt will work better than the minimal shirt and tie combo. That abstract-patterned pocket square you keep at the back of your drawer will also come in handy. To achieve a smart-casual look, play with textures, tones, and textiles.
Regardless of what you wear, it is important that you check the finer details. Features like lapels, buttons and their placement, the flair of your pants, and the type of shoe you wear, need to be appropriate. Your shoe option should be tailored for the specific office – refined and timeless for corporate and preferably contemporary alternatives for more lenient industries.
Your choice of scent is also important. Haydee Antezana, an impression management specialist, cautions against using too much cologne. “Lighter fragrances with citrus and aqua undertones will work better than those with earthy base tones.” Antezana says.
Your hair should be kept clean with a modest haircut. However, on the condition that your hair looks presentable and maintainable, creative offices would let you get away with any hairstyle you prefer.
Your interview will be drastically different than your job. The key is to remember to dress up and not down. If all else fails, a broad smile will go a long way.
words by Tsiamo Tiger Maremela