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What To Wear To A Job Interview

What To Wear To A Job Interview

29 Aug 2023

What To Wear To A Job Interview

By James Shackell

So you’ve got the dream job interview coming up. The first step is not to panic. Second: plan your outfit. This isn’t as silly as it sounds. Research has shown that how we dress affects how we think. Formal wear, in particularly, has been proven to boost confidence and help our brains engage in abstract thinking. There’s also something reassuring about knowing that, whatever else happens, you’re going to walk into that room looking fantastic. It takes a mental load off your mind.

So how do you dress for a job interview? Well, that sort of depends on the job. The general rule is: predict what the actual work attire will be, then kick it up a notch. So if the office you’re applying for is mostly smart casual, consider suit pants and a jacket, but no tie. If it’s a corporate office, a two piece suit is a minimum, but you can elevate the look with a tie pin and matching pocket square.

Here’s our guide on what to wear to a job interview. Now, what’s your biggest weakness?

Standard business professional interviews

The majority of white-collar job interviews, especially in finance, law, marketing or tech, are probably going to be what we call ‘standard business professional’. That means a suit jacket, business shirt, tie, tailored pants and dress shoes. If you’re on the fence about what to wear to these interviews, always err on the more formal side. No-one ever got penalised for dressing too well in a job interview. If you really want to make an impression, our top-of-the-range DYLAN dress shoes are the way to go. They’re hand-crafted in Italy from premium, vegetable-tanned leather. Alternatively, try some TOMMASI brogues (with a navy suit) or classic HARLEN dress shoes (with a black or charcoal suit).

Smart casual interviews

Smart casual workplaces are a little more tricky. You might observe the people there wearing sneakers, or even jeans, but those looks aren’t really appropriate for a job interview. Remember, you want to take the standard attire, then elevate it slightly. For smart casual interviews, that means chino pants (neatly hemmed or cuffed), a button-up shirt and a knit blazer. For footwear, consider something slightly less formal than your standard corporate office. Chelsea boots, loafers, full leather Chukkas, like the chisel-toed ADAMS, are all perfect here. Our CAVARRA tan penny loafers also strike that balance between professional and laid-back.  

Informal meetings

Maybe you’ve got an informal meeting before the official interview. Again, what to wear here will depend on the nature of the job and the company, but usually these meetings are slightly more relaxed, more exploratory. Coffee and muffins are generally involved. For this occasion, a clean, well-polished pair of boots or sneakers are appropriate. Start with something like the BRODY brown chukka boot, or our DECO 2.0 sneakers in navy, then layer up with a simple pair of tan chinos and a button-up shirt. We still wouldn’t recommend jeans, t-shirts or hoodies here, although you could try a neat crew knit in winter. The trick is to look smart, friendly and put-together.

Zoom interviews

Do we even need to say this? Please wear pants to your Zoom interviews. On the 1 per cent chance that you’re required to stand up, you don’t want to do it in your underwear. Okay, we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to styling. The same fashion rules apply, whether you’re interviewing in person or from home. But for Zoom interviews, give some thought to your desk. Keep it clean, neat and tidy, with premium accessories. Maybe a leather desk pad, mouse pad or MONTORO laptop sleeve. When it comes to background, try and inject some colour with a plant or a painting.

Finally, lighting: you want soft, ambient lighting falling on your face, ideally from a warm desk lamp and south-facing window. Don’t sit with light behind you; it’ll put you in silhouette.

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