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August 1, 2005
Why Clothing Can Make or Break the Interview

According to a Forbes article, statistics show that first impressions are made within the initial 30 seconds of a job interview. And yes, appearance and wardrobe choices play a big part in the hiring decision.

You've worked so hard to get that interview, make sure you play it to your advantage with dressing the part. Business professional is the way to go for most any type of interview.

Statistics are on the job candidates' side - Mark Strong, a New York-based life, career and executive coach says that around 80% of job candidates dress the part, while the other 20% don't. That means about 20% can lose the job before they've uttered one word.

Why is it so important?

Dressing the part for an interview says a lot about you in just a few moments.

It says the following:

• You've taken the time to learn the company's dress code. It shows you've done a little background work.

• You have respect for the interviewer and anyone else you may meet in your interview.

• You already look the part. It's easier for the interviewer to see you as a successful part of the company already; you can blend in with the company culture.

• You will feel more comfortable. You'll conduct yourself more professionally and feel good about fitting in; in turn, your interview will go smoother.

Some do's and don'ts….

Do find out the company dress policy - Some companies will expect you in a business suit, some small businesses may be a bit more casual and you could pull off a casual dress like the Full Circle Exchange Women's Surplice Dress found at Walmart. But be careful when going the more casual route and make sure it fits the culture there. Do a little research beforehand because you'd be just as uncomfortable over dressed as under if they are all in shorts and flip flops and you come in wearing a suit.

Give yourself a good look in the mirror - Before you leave for the interview, give yourself a hard look. Is too much cleavage showing or do your panty lines show through? Do your pants need to be ironed or your shoes shined? Those little things can make a difference.

Leave the excess alone - Too much makeup or perfume can be a big turnoff. If you tend to dress in loud colors and prints, tone it down a bit for the interview. Neutral is always safe.

Have a set outfit - Invest in an interview suit and make sure you love it. You want to feel confident and your outfit can help you there. Make sure it's in style, fits well and can blend in a variety of companies. Don't forget the shoes, either. And have it ready. After your interview, send it to the drycleaners so it's ready for the next one.

Dressing the part is a big piece of an interview.

You can have a killer resume, but if you walk in to the interview wearing the wrong thing, your name can quickly get scratched off the possibility list.

A great outfit, confidence, and a pleasurable demeanor can take you far! Best of luck!


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Heather Legg is an Atlanta-based independent writer who covers career and business topics, including social media, small business, personal finance, and brick and mortar business degrees and getting an online degree in business

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