Audrey Hepburn always taught her two sons that it was better to arrive at an event over-dressed than to be the one gentleman wearing an un-ironed shirt in a sea of sport coats. Although most people have not had the privilege of being raised by Audrey herself, her words of wisdom ring true even today- especially in the case of dressing for a job interview. This can be a bit of an unnerving process, having one opportunity to make a good impression when the stakes are potentially very high. Luckily, there are a few things the chic Washingtonian can do in order to make this appointment a bit easier.
1.) Above all, pay careful attention to grooming. Gentlemen, please shave and have a fresh haircut- this makes a world of difference. Ladies, keep make-up to a minimum and wear your hair down or in a nice updo (please no ponytails, its simply not professional for an interview). Air on the side of caution, this is not the time for experimental hair color or piercings.
2.) No matter where you are trying to find your dream job, the clothes you wear to an interview should fit properly. This is where most mistakes are made whether dressing for an interview or going out for groceries. Suits and dresses should fit well, it is absolutely noticeable if shoulders on suit jackets are too wide, dress shirts pull or gap at the front, or hems are too short. Although it can be difficult to find a suit that fits perfectly, one short (and rather inexpensive) visit to a good tailor makes a considerable difference. For excellent tailoring services, try Baytok’s Bespoke Tailoring at 1804 Wisconsin Ave NW (202-337-4800).
While gentlemen are mostly limited to suits, the key is proper fit. You will look more professional and put-together if you take the time to make sure that your suit fits. Some safe options for ladies are a conservative dress (think Jackie Kennedy) with jacket or sweater, paired with pumps and a nice necklace, or a suit with skirt or slacks. Again, fit is key;
3.) Be sure that you are wearing appropriate shoes. Teetering in four-inch heels does not send an encouraging message to potential employers, nor does wearing dress shoes that are not polished.
4.) Although it is possible that you strive to become a corporate titan or top diplomat, which require conservative dressing, keep in mind that you are attempting to stand out in a string of interviews. A colorful tie or scarf in a conservative pattern is attention-catching and will help show a bit of personality.
While dressing nicely for an interview is certainly not paramount to your experience and fit for a position, the way you dress says a lot about their personality and priorities. A well dressed interviewee conveys confidence and professionalism. According to the Riley Group, statistics show that in the first thirty seconds of meeting someone, a person is judged 55% by the way they dress, act and walk through the door; 38% by the quality of their voice grammar and overall confidence, and 7% from what they actually say. So schedule that interview, choose a great outfit, and be on your way to the job you’ve been working toward.