Whether you're a new graduate switching careers or a seasoned pro climbing the corporate ladder, job interviews can be an unnerving experience. And, whilst experience and a strong CV are essential to secure that initial interview, making a great first impression is also crucial. Here are some top tips on ensuring your outfit is as sharp as your patter.
Do your homework
Preparation for an interview is key and your potential employer will want to see that you've researched their brand history and their work. But there is a big difference between Google and Goldman, so it's crucial you also research the work culture and dress accordingly. While it's a good, general rule to be overdressed rather than underdressed, wearing a suit and tie to a tech start-up may say chartered accountant rather than tech savvy pro, yet sporting a T-shirt and jeans for a banking internship position will look more weekend party boy than corporate prodigy.
The business casual look
Like our office at secretsales.com, work environments are becoming more casual and wearing a suit and tie could be considered too much. If this is the case, think business up top and casual on the bottom. So pair a smart jacket with dark chinos and clean, polished brogues. From the recent SS14 menswear shows, Balenciaga, Rag and Bone and Belstaff have all mixed separates seamlessly, from slim-cut blazers, trench coats to utilitarian-inspired jackets. Pick your favourite style and wear with a simple button-down shirt. Ensure your accessories also mean business and upgrade your school rucksack for a plain leather satchel.
Suiting may seem like a no-brainer, yet it's still an area of sartorial fails. These days, suits are cut very slim and jackets are shorter, so if you're planning on digging out an old standby from your wardrobe (last worn to your distant cousin's wedding), you may want to invest in a new one. From SS14, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton and Brioni all put an array of suits on the catwalk that would do Michael Douglas' Wall Street proud. You don't need to break the bank, but a plain navy or grey suit is a worthy item to invest in. The fashion may now be slim-cut, but a jacket shouldn't look like it's pulling around the chest and allow the trousers to have only one break on the shoe; anything longer will look sloppy. It still doesn't have to feel stale though. While Gucci and Prada for SS14 worked floral into their suiting mix, take a page from their catwalk look and add coloured socks or a printed pocket square to your look. Best rule here is you want to be remembered for what you say, not what you are wearing. If your look is memorable, it's probably for the wrong reasons.
Interviews aren't the time for reinvention so it's best to still look and be yourself. Save a new hair style or radical goatee for another time. Don't neglect your grooming though. Like your clothing, pay extra attention to the essentials and if need be, get a fresh hair-cut a few days before and make sure your nails are neatly cut. The bottom line is, if you dress confidently, you'll feel confident and you'll be sure to bag that new job in no time.