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How to dress for a job interview

By Meha Bhargava
Last updated on: February 29, 2016 16:52 IST
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Be it your first job or a corporate interview, here's how you can look your best.

How to dress for success

You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it" -- Edith Head.

True to its meaning, the quote by Edith Head does touch a chord, as a job interview is the mother of all first impressions, and it acts as a small window for your potential employer to take a peek into your credentials.

Long before you speak, you announce yourself and communicate in a much older and universal language: the language of clothing, grooming and body language.

It is significant so much more now, owing to the fiercely competitive world we live in.

The smallest details can set you apart.

It's crucial that you look professional, capable and confident without going overboard.

Extremes of any kind, for example, red nails or a loud handbag are a strict No-No.

Your wardrobe should complement your skill-set and never be a distraction.

You want your ensemble to say, 'I have good judgement. I am responsible, socially adept and it shall take a true visionary like you to hire me.'

Be it your first job interview, or your hundredth, the fact remains that you want to be hired and the basics shall remain the same for each of your interview. The simplest step would be to don a jacket/blazer.

Here are some tips to help you get started with.

First interview 

Wear a well-fitted dark trouser teamed with a brightly-coloured top and a black blazer.

One can take up the attire a notch higher by accessorising a little with mid-sized studs. For instance, a pair of pearls or white diamonds will be perfect and will add a feminine touch.

Corporate interview 

Tapered pants are not fit for a formal interview; rather a straight or relaxed fit grey/black/navy trousers teamed with a nice silk cream or pastel colour blouse and a matched jacket can do the work for your look.

If you are a little creative you can colour-coordinate your attire or pair neutrals with subtle yet vibrant colours. However, do not overdo it.

Start-up interview 

Easy here! Start-ups are usually not run by the older generation and semi-formal can work well for an interview here.

Wear well-fitted denims with a smart T-shirt though with no slogans written on it, matched with a sporty jacket. You are bound to catch the attention effortlessly.

Any look can be amped up with the humble blazer.

To portray a formal look or add a dash of perkiness to a casual attire, a blazer works best.

Even on the hottest summer day, a jacket becomes a cinch to pull your look together. It spells poise, maturity and conveys professional energy.

Here are some additional tips

  • When in doubt neutral colours are guaranteed to work together.
  • Avoid loud jewellery (specially dangling or clattering ones), you are attending an interview and not heading for a night out.
  • Do not wear heavy makeup -- soft, feminine and everyday make-up is the key.
  • Avoid shiny, sequinned or glitter fabrics that can be quite distracting and portray a negative image.
  • Do not wear a revealing top or outfit with skin on display. It is a strict no-no.
  • Teaming up accessories with a watch is a must, for that matter you can still leave out the earrings if you do not feel like wearing them, but never forget to wear a watch.
  • If not manicured, trim or file your nails to perfection, it speaks volumes.
  • Do not walk in chewing gum.
  • Keep your hairdo tidy and neat. Do not let it fly around and if it is too hard to handle tie it up in a chic ponytail.

Lead image used for representational purposes only. Image: Robert Galbraith / Reuters

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Meha Bhargava
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