INTERVIEWING? WOT TO WEAR…?

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We are currently running a search for a prominent Media company. The mere mention of a Media company conjures images of uber-trendy people, immaculately presented, working on very glamorous projects. Now this perception may or may not be the truth. However, it does illustrate the fact that we all make perceptions about what a particular companies culture/style may be like.

This was recently highlighted when a candidate in the aforementioned search called to ask what she should wear to her interview. It’s also worth noting that this was a relatively senior search so we’re not talking about candidates first or second interview experience. Moreover, it confirmed the general power that, despite one’s years of experience/seniority, is associated with personal brand/presentation and interview dress codes.

Whilst I still maintain that the content of the interview should sway the direction of success or failure. Statistics show that 55% of first impressions are determined by the way you dress and walk through the door in a job interview while 65% of hiring managers say clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates. Therefore in today’s modern work of content and inquisitive, perception is still a massive factor and how to dress for an interview is still relevant.

Choosing your interview outfit is all about appropriateness for the role and the company. Dress codes are cultural, and they shift with the seasons and change over time – but as a general rule, it’s wise to err on the side of caution. Interviews are not the place to push the sartorial envelope unless you really want to make a bold statement.

One of the best ways to clarify what to wear to a job interview is the simplest: ask beforehand. Email or call the employer or your recruitment partner before your interview, and ask them about the appropriate dress code for interviews with their company. It’s a simple strategy, but it can help you to avoid overdressing or underdressing and ensure you hit the right note.

Researching and understanding the company’s culture immediately captures the interviewer’s attention so it’s important to dress the part. You will find a lot of relevant information on the company’s website. If there are images of the workforce this will tell you whether to opt for professional or smart casual dress. Employers often deliberately leave dress details out of any correspondence so they can make their own judgments on how prospective employees have chosen to dress.

One recent addition to this paradigm is the increasing importance of our online or digital presence. To ensure that any online photos/content are equally high touch. These days everyone needs to be aware of their digital presence, knowing that LinkedIn is often one of the first places recruiters / potential employers look when searching for candidates. Expect to be digitally pre-screened before your interview and ensure that your LinkedIn (and any other social media) profile picture looks professional. When having your profile picture taken, simply follow the same outfit guidelines as if you’re interviewing for a job.

In sum, it seems that while a very seemingly straightforward concepts and one that does not seem as high touch in the modern world. It is evident that personal brand, presentation, and style is still a critical factor in securing the right outcome at interview.