I went to a speed networking event last night. Wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it. Something that comes up again and again in conversation, when I tell people what I do, when I’m talking about ‘Authority Dressing’ and/or ‘Approachability’, is how people often neglect the most fundamental things at interview. Interviewers can be completely put off at the first hurdle by poor personal presentation, personal hygiene etc, so bang goes any chance of a job even if you’re really well qualified. The thing is that we can’t ignore the fact – that first impresssions last, and however good you may be at something it’s hard to claw your way back when you’ve let yourself down unnecessarily. And I really feel that it’s disrespectful not to make an effort. If you can’t be bothered to get it right for interview how efficient will you be in the workplace?
I’m not suggesting that anyone goes and spends thousands of pounds on a super designer suit, but there are fundamental things which should be taken into account if you want to be taken seriously – some of these are really obvious but you’d be surprised how they can be overlooked:
- Make sure your clothes FIT! Badly fitting clothes look slovenly (love that word).
- Dress like you MEAN IT. Dress with authority by using CONTRAST – black and white is the greatest contrast, but if you don’t have strong colouring you may be better off with navy or brown worn with a soft white or cream.
- Make sure your clothes are CLEAN – no stains, get rid of bobbly bits which can make clothes look cheap, use a clothes brush/lint remover to get rid of hairs or dust.
- POLISH SHOES and get them re-heeled if needed.
- Full length trousers should cover the top of the shoe – don’t wear them too short.
- Men wear a tie.
- Ladies wear MAKE UP – not loads, but it will make you look much more pulled together. Bright red lipstick is not a great idea, a colour a couple of shades darker than your inside lip will look natural and will suit your colouring. Or keep it really simple with some gloss.
- Make sure NAILS are clean and filed or (ladies) recently varnished – chipped nail varnish is a big no-no.
- Men – SHAVE! Or trim your beard.
- WASH you HAIR. And make sure that it’s neat and recently trimmed or cut. Beware of overpowering perfume or after shave – it’s not a party!
- Make sure HEMLINES aren’t dropping – and have tears, holes or hems repaired.
I could go on…but I think that’s enough for now. If you know you look prepared it will give you masses of confidence.
Good luck in interview!