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How to dress for an interview

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Published: 24 June 2021

Clothes hanging on a rail

Interviews take a lot of preparation. You need to spend time reading about the company and practising your answers to make sure you present the best version of yourself.  

One aspect which isn’t often spoken about, but that deserves a bit of thought, is what to wear on the big day.  

Your clothes will give an immediate first impression to your interviewers and can even impact how you’re feeling.  

So how do you know what to put on to have the best chance of landing that dream job?   

Check the dress code  

The first thing you can do is to try and find out what other people are wearing.  

Take a look through the company’s website and social media feeds for images that should give you an idea.  

Notice if people are in suits and ties or hoodies and jeans.   

If you’re still not sure, there’s nothing wrong with calling the HR department and asking what the dress code for the interview is.   

Also, make sure you think about the industry you’re applying to work in. If it’s very professional, you’ll know to wear ‘business attire’.  

If it’s more casual, you could dress more relaxed and natural.   

Dress rehearsals  

Going to the interview location the day before (if it’s not online) is a common piece of advice applicants get.   

It helps you prepare, combat any surprises, feel more comfortable and less rushed when it really matters.  

The same could be said for what you decide to wear.   

Take a bunch of your clothes out and lay them on top of each other. Mix and match everything to see what works best together.   

It’ll give you an idea of what colours clash or what stands out too much.  

Make sure you try your selection on to see what it’ll look like in the interview.   

Also, make sure your clothes are clean and ironed. Whatever style you end up going for, messy clothes will be immediately noticed and affect the impression you give.   

What is business casual?  

It’s common when you ask HR what the dress style needs to be for the interview, that they’ll tell you simply ‘business casual’.  

So, what does that mean exactly?   

Generally, it’s used to describe clothes that aren’t tailored or formal.   

Think of it as things that could be worn under a suit jacket with smart trousers or a skirt but could also be work with jeans.   

That doesn’t mean a t-shirt and shorts or even overly bright colours, though.  

For women, think near button-down tops, dark trousers or skirts and closed-toed shoes.  

For men, it’s shirts with collars and long-sleeves, chinos or something similar and dark footwear.  

What you choose to wear will have as much of an impact on how you’re feeling as what your potential employer thinks of you.  

So, take some time to plan and prepare your clothes and you’ll give an immediately good impression.   

Whatever you decide to do with your future, the University of Sunderland in London Careers and Employability Service is here to help.  

To have a one-to-one chat with them, book a meeting through Compass 

Alternatively, email out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.