An interview offers you a chance to make an impression on a prospective employer. Since it's often the first impression that matters most, what you wear to an interview becomes a powerful tool for projecting an image of skill, competence, and experience.
Every industry has expectations when it comes to dressing and personal grooming, and the skilled trades are no different. While you don't have to invest in a costly perfectly tailored suit, you should wear clothing appropriate to the occasion.
Clean, pressed clothes are a must, as is good personal grooming and hygiene. Also, remember to wear or bring outerwear appropriate for the weather – showing up to an interview soaking wet or cold will make it more difficult to come across as comfortable and confident.
Simple business clothes are appropriate attire that can help you feel more confident. Business clothing has to be neat and crisp. While it's less formal than a suit, it should be business enough to make you feel appropriately dressed even if you bump into the company's CEO in the elevator.
Business casual includes clothes like:
- Pants or skirts. For both men and women, khaki or dark slacks or pants work well as business wear. Women may also choose to wear skirts in similar colours, which should fall at or below the knee.
- Tops. Long-sleeved, button-up dress shirts are appropriate for both men and women. Women may also choose to wear a sweater or a cardigan if weather permits.
- Footwear. Shoes should be clean and polished. Choose “dress” shoes over “athletic” shoes. For women, a flat or a low heel is appropriate.
- Accessories. Belts should be low-key and fit correctly. Women may also choose to wear simple jewellery, like small earrings or a necklace; however, less is more when it comes to business casual accessories. Apart from wedding or class rings, men generally do not wear jewellery in business settings, and it's wise to avoid it in an interview unless you know the particular interviewer or company accepts it.
- Make sure that your hands are spotlessly cleaned with trimmed nails.
- Keep your hair neat and in place, if possible try to have a haircut before.
- Pay attention to your scent. Powerful perfumes and intense colognes can destroy interviews. Moderation is recommended.
- Go to the restroom to check yourself before meeting the interviewer.
- Get a good night's sleep before the interview day. Avoid looking tired or exhausted during the interview.
- Look at the interviewer in the eye. It shows you are confident and trustworthy.
- Smile and use gestures in your conversation.
- Let the interviewer set the pace of the interview.
- Don't be late. Always plan to be early for any scheduled interview. Factor in traffic and time you might need to search for the address of the venue.
- Don't wear your outer clothes, like a raincoat or overcoat, into an interview.
- Don't sit down until you are asked.
- Don't lean forward or put your elbows on the interviewer's desk. Sit back in your chair in a comfortable posture.
- Don't show you are nervous by drumming your fingers, swing your leg, or cracking your knuckles.
- Don't adjust your clothes and fiddle with your hair repeatedly.
All the best for your next interview!