Dress to Impress


Turning up to your interview smartly dressed is mostly likely an obvious condition but is smart too smart? I like to use the 25% plus rule. You cannot dress up any more than a full suit and tie, so let’s start with this at the very top of our smart meter. It is important for you to explore and understand the culture of your prospective company. You can do this by watching promotional videos on YouTube or searching images on their website. What is the image the company wants to portray to their clients? For example, if you’re going to work for an investment bank, or consultancy firm, they most likely will be dressed in a full suit attire, or at the very least, trousers, shirt unbuttoned on the top. In these cases, you definitely want to be wearing a suit including a tie or if woman, skirt or trousers with a blouse and jacket. Colour also plays an important part, be careful with black, while it is neutral colour it also is associated to funerals or a waiter or waitress in a restaurant with a white shirt. Try on your outfit a couple of days before and get some objective and critical feedback. Think about what impression you want to make and then how are these clothes supporting or contradicting this image.


However, more informal companies choose to dress down and wear only jeans and t-shirts at work – while this comfortable attire is permitted in the company remember you are trying to make an impression too, use the 25%+ rule in these cases. For example, if you choose to wear jean too – make sure they are brand new, wear shoes with them and a matching belt. With this a collared shirt without a tie is fine but tuck in the shirt and maybe roll up the sleeves. This shows that you are presentable but relaxed and will fit in well if successful and win the role. So, in a nutshell, try to dress up 25% more than your interviewer or future colleagues.


Finally, many people nowadays are carrying out their interviews online through platforms like Zoom, Google or Skype. In these cases, dressing up and wearing a full suit at home while sitting at your kitchen table may sound overkill and you’re right in thinking that. My advice is to wear a collared shirt without a tie and the sleeves rolled up. Also, make sure that you are well-groomed, those people with beards and facial hair, make sure it is trimmed that day, those who shave – shave that morning.


A little extra when it comes to video calls, frame yourself using your camera before the call. But your camera facing away from any natural light source as this will overexpose the camera and darken your image – in some cases when the day is incredibly bright it will turn you into a silhouette like an interviewer concealing their identity. Turn your computer and face the window, make sure there is a neutral background without action going on, or a fan where the movement will reduce the quality of the call as the camera will be working harder to send the image than necessary. Tell everyone in the house that you will be having an interview so they can keep the noise down.