As recent college graduates venture out into the workforce, many examine every detail of their resumes and cover letters over and over again before submitting them to a prospective employer. Presenting an outstanding display of their skills and experiences on paper is the only thing crossing many job seekers’ minds.
If an employer sees an applicant as a promising fit, an interview will usually take place before any official employment contract is signed.
While looking good on paper is a pivotal aspect of landing a job, interviews are job seekers’ chances to present not only their skills and experiences but also chances to personally present themselves as individuals.
Owning an interview is a key factor in a job applicant’s future at a company, and it all starts with the look.
Interviewees must strategically plan their interview outfits according to the job they are applying for and the company they are applying to. The interviewee needs to take into consideration an outfit’s fit and proportions. For women, accessories and makeup are also important elements to pay attention to.
Shane Van Deree, coordinator of Academic Services at The University of Florida, says an interview begins the minute an applicant walks through the office door.
“We look at what an interviewee is wearing because it gives us an idea of how serious they view themselves as a professional and it also tells us a little bit about their personality,” said Van Deree.
For men, a simple, solid or pinstripe suit is suitable for a standard job interview. It is important not to wear a flashy printed button-down shirt underneath as it could distract the interviewer away from remembering your strengths as an applicant, according to Olivia Coscia, a fashion-merchandising intern at BCBGMAXAZRIA in Los Angeles, Cali.
For women, interview outfit selection gets a bit more complicated.
When looking for the perfect interview outfit, women need to focus on the upper portions of the blouse or dress they choose to wear.
Necklines are the sole focus when looking for an interview-appropriate ensemble.
“It is important to wear a neckline that is not too low-cut and sits closer to your face. You want your top or dress to draw the interviewer’s eye to your face,” says Coscia. “I would recommend a crewneck blouse or button-down to stay safe, but you can wear a slight V-neck if you feel that it is not too low-cut.”
According to Coscia, print and color are also important factors for women. You do not want to choose a distracting pattern or a color that does not go well with your skin tone. If you do want to go with a pattern, try to choose one that is smaller and compliments your face. The same rule applies when choosing the color of your interview dress or blouse.
Accessories and makeup need to be minimal yet complimentary to your outfits says Coscia. “It is important to have a few accessories because they do enhance your outfit but again, try to stay away from any distracting pieces,” Coscia said. “As far as makeup goes, only use the basics of foundation, blush, a neutral eye shadow, mascara, and a medium-toned lipstick.”
Beyond all else, an essential element of your interview outfit though is that you feel comfortable and confident in it, said Van Deree.
Having confidence will help make a job applicant look their best to any future employer.