There are few things as nerve-wracking as your first job interview. No matter how well you did during your studies or how many extra-curricular activities you were involved in, nothing can prepare for this moment. Your CV and cover letter got you this far but now it’s up to you and your shining personality. If you really want the job, you’re going to have to wow the interviewer in order to make it to the next stage. Which means you’re going to need a lot of self-confidence. And a great way to boost your confidence is to know you look good.
Deciding what to wear to an interview is never easy. You want to give the right impression, appear profession and, most importantly, look like you belong in their office. So, if you want to find the perfect look for your first job interview, here’s how.
Figure out the general dress code
If you’ve never been in their office before and don’t know anyone who has, you’re not going to know the dress code. And knowing the dress code is important if you want to know what look you should go for. So, do a little online stalking and see if you can find any pictures of staff events. A good place to start is the company’s website as they’ll likely have pictures of the people who work there. Look at the pictures of the people you’d likely be working with and take your cue from them.
If you struggle to get any ideas from searching online, ask around about the industry. Even if you don’t know anyone who currently works in the industry, you can ask your old classmates what they experienced during their interviews. And if that doesn’t work, your best bet is to go for a semi-formal look.
Wear clothes that fit well
You want to be comfortable when you go for an interview and that means wearing clothes that fit well. Pants that are a little too tight or a shirt that rides up as the move will distract you. And tugging at your clothes instead of paying attention to the interview is not going to do you any favours. You want clothes that fit well and look neat and tidy. It’s not just tight clothes you want to be worried about, you should also avoid baggy clothes that make you look like you’re still in student mode instead of someone who is ready to start their first proper job.
Pick out two possible outfits at least a day before
You should definitely not wait until the day of your interview to decide what to wear. The only way that will work out is if your entire wardrobe is filled with the right kind of clothes. And you were a student only a few weeks or months ago, that’s highly unlikely. If you want to find the right look, you’re going to have to try on a few things.
Don’t just look at yourself in the mirror and turn around a few times. Walk around the house to decide if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing. It’s also always a good idea to get someone else’s opinion, so ask a parent, older sibling or friend who’s already experienced the working world. Once you’ve done all this, pick two outfits that you know will work. You never know how you’ll feel on the day, so having options is a good thing.
Choose a hairstyle you’re comfortable with
Bedhead may have been okay when you were waiting tables at a student coffee shop or attending lectures, but it won’t give a good impression at a job interview. What you want to aim for is neat, tidy and suited to the shape of your face. Don’t try a new hairstyle on the day. You may find you hate it and won’t have time to change. And if you’re going for a haircut, do it at least a week in advance, unless you know the hairdresser and have been to them many times before.
One thing you want to avoid is having greasy hair or dry scalp. Dandruff flakes falling onto your shoulders will not leave your interviewer with a positive impression. It may even distract them from all the interesting things you have to say. So make sure to wash your hair with the right products and choose a hairstyle that masks any scalp issues you may have.
Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of personality
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to be yourself. You may have to dress a little bit more formal than you’re used to, but that doesn’t mean you have to dress like you’re a different person. You want them to hire you, not someone you’re pretending to be. So, don’t be scared to add your favourite accessories or personalise your look with something special. Just, you know, keep it neat.