The winning look for women
Unless one is applying to be a fashion model or a TV anchor, job applicants often question why appearances should matter during job interviews. The answer is simple. It is usually down to first impressions.
Remember, job interviews are similar to blind dates. Both employer and applicant are strangers to each other and are meeting for the first time. Employers begin to evaluate an applicant based on the initial information they can gather or observe. The moment the applicant enters the door, opinions are already being made by the employer. “He looks sloppy,” “She looks smart” etc. These may or may not even be a conscious effort at all. Their brain will start to assess if the applicant’s sense of style and look matches the company’s image or if the applicant is taking the interview seriously by dressing for the occasion. Employers can also easily pick up fragments of the applicant’s personality by the accessories they wear or the colours they choose when presenting themselves.
According to a study conducted by Ladders, a careers website, applicants who fail to take the interview dress code seriously may hurt their chances of landing the desired job. In the study, 37% of 500 surveyed bosses in the UK admitted to hiring applicants based on dress appearances. Other results indicated that 99% would not hire any female applicant who wore dangling accessories. 95% also stated that they would be turned off if the female applicant had a low-necked top and wore no leg tights during the interview process. Male applicants wearing leather jackets, denim jeans with polo shirts would worry 70% of the employers as well.
As a general reminder, it is good to keep in mind that dressing appropriately for a job interview exhibits preparation and effort. Since applicants only have a few minutes to be interviewed, they should maximize every opportunity to make an impression. Even if making an impression means having a second, third or fourth look at the mirror before leaving the house.
To help all applicants on their big day, here is a list of general tips and fashion dos and donts applicable to almost any kind of job interview.
Do wear a jacket. Blazers, coats, and jackets always polish a look. Though neutral coloured jackets are safe bets, women should not be afraid to express their inner style. Experiment with different cuts, textures, and colours but do not go overboard. Keep the rest of the look simple. Navy blue blazers, tweed, and plaid jackets are stylish alternatives.
Do not wear frumpy or crumpled jackets. The point is to look organized so make sure to iron them before leaving the house.
Do not wear overly high stilettos. Although heels are good, tacky four inched heels might make one look like they are heading to a club instead.
Do wear belts that match you shoes. To create consistency, a well-put together outfit should have belts match the material and color of the shoes.
Do wear a suit for formal or conservative business interviews. Especially if applying for a corporate position, suits (whether pant or dress suits) are straightforward and classy options. Do wear closed shoes. Enjoy wearing the classic pumps! Not only will they add a touch of sophistication to the look, help improve posture, but heels also elongate the legs making women seem taller. Neutral shades work best.
Do not forget to wear stockings if wearing dress suits. Some companies are still wary about showing too much skin even if the suit already has a conservative length and cut. Make sure the tights are beige, white, or black.
Do wear tailored pieces for casual business interviews. A tailored dress or a pencil skirt matched with a buttoned top and blazer still represents a professional yet feminine vibe.
Do not wear tight, low or short pieces. Maintain a conservative cut and length. Showing too much skin can be distracting as well as distasteful.
Do wear minimal accessories. Applicants should not wear or carry anything that is too flashy or over sized as it might be distracting to the interviewer. Simple diamond or pearl stud earrings, a wristwatch, and medium-sized bag (handbag, portfolio bag, briefcase, etc.) are safe but elegant choices.
Do not wear backpacks or transit gears. Items such as sunglasses on one’s head, earphones, etc. diminishes the professional look.
:Do keep your nails clean, short, and neatly manicured. Nails reflect personal hygiene so it is best to keep them trimmed and cleaned. Neutral shades of nail polish are good but no polish is even better. Remember, no employer wants to be scratched accidentally by long untrimmed nails when shaking hands.
Do keep a hairstyle that stays in place. Big hairstyles or fussy ones can be distracting. Look neat by securing hair in a tight ponytail or bun. Gels, waxes and even headbands can help keep the hair in place.
Do not wear tacky hair accessories or have “funky” hair color. Unless it is for a creative position, keep the original shade of the hair. No employer wants to be surprised with a rainbow head entering the door.
Do wear minimal and flattering make up. Women should stay away from heavy or cakey makeup. Instead of taking the applicant seriously, a colorful face might throw employers off.
Do not experiment with make up just before the interview. Do not play with neon colored eye shadows or bright red lipsticks before an interview. Though it is okay to express oneself, job interviews are not the time to be ultra-trendy as it might be distracting.
Some organizations may be specific in their dress codes and may have already given the applicant instructions on what to wear. Some may not have any specifications at all which may confuse applicants all the more. These general tips will help any one in putting together a great look for a job interview. Adding one’s personal style to these basic fashion dos and donts can be a good way to show one’s distinct personality as well. However, in doing so, keep in mind that less is always more. Get creative and stylish but keep it simple, neat, and polished at all times.