These days the right interview outfit can pay big dividends. Although no hiring manager is likely to consciously base a decision on an applicant’s outfit, decisions are made every day based on the beliefs that appearance causes an interviewer to form.
With so many work-from-home situations these days, wardrobe choices for interviewing are far more nuanced. And the lack of defined expectations has lowered the bar, making it easier to stand out in a positive way.
Newest research reveals it takes as little as 7 seconds for someone to form a whole laundry list of impressions of you, and you want to be sure they are all positive ones. And the same goes for influencing clients, bosses and peers once you land the job.
Here are some tips to create a winning first impression on a small screen:
- DO THE HOMEWORK to understand how the people in this organization dress for work. Is it a traditional suited environment, a free-wheeling casual/creative place or something in between. Photos on the company web site provide good clues
- DRESS with intention and polish. A too-casual look can make you appear less organized, less dependable.
- DON’T over-dress, though. A traditional suit in an at[home setting can come across as desperate or out of date.
- DON’T hesitate to be stylish, but not overly trendy. It’s easy for a bright, eye-catching garment to overpower the on-screen image.
- DON’T ignore your bottom garment. Even if it may not be seen. it sends a message to YOU about identity and consistency.
- DEFINE Business Casual with an emphasis on “business” and avoid social-casual attire. Choose instead:
- DISTINCTIVE touches can help you be more memorable to an interviewer who has talked to multiple candidates. LinkedIn Influencer Jeff Haden – in an article about what interviewers want to see from candidates – shares that “the more people we interview for a job, and the more spread out those interviews, the more likely we are to remember certain candidates by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.” A scarf or interesting necklace can do the trick.
- DOUBLE-check the details:
- Garments clean, pressed and well fitted.
- Fingernails groomed, especially if you talk with your hands.
- Subtle but polished makeup to emphasize your facial expressions.
- Neatly trimmed and styled hair; natural-looking color with no visible roots; no decorative hair ornaments.
- Tailored earrings to anchor focus on your face, but nothing glitzy, noisy or dangling.
- Avoid bright white items and high-contrast color combinations. They pull all the attention away from your face – your communications – and to the clothing itself. With a navy jacket, try a sage or jade green shell for example. Pair charcoal gray with blush, or dark brown with dusty aqua blue. The paler your own coloring, the more gentle the contrast level you can wear and still keep focus on your face.
Look for opportunities to repeat the color of your hair and/or your eyes in your outfit. A scarf provides one great option to work in those colors. By doing so you subtly encourage the interviewer to make eye contact with you more readily and sustain that eye contact longer, creating a positive, friendly emotional connection.
We’re always available to help you plan the most effective outfit for an interview, important meeting or presentation.