If you want to leave a lasting impression on your hiring manager, you need to make a positive impact on him/her the moment you walk in through the door. A key element to keep in mind is dressing for the interview, a potentially high-pressure task. You want your outfit to be a stress-free experience instead of awkward and graceless. Many will say that startups have blurred the line between what can and cannot be worn at an interview, and that is partially true. Startups have ushered in an era of business casuals, but even they won't approve of you waltzing in for an interview wearing a pair of denims and a sweater.
At an interview, where an employer usually has as little as half-an-hour to assess you, very often, you are what you wear.
Prepare in advance
If you have to be out of your house by 10 am, don't wait till 9 am to decide what you are going to wear for the interview. Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. You don't want to be surrounded by a pile of clothes, crying that you have nothing to wear, on your interview day. Therefore, you should plan a day or two ahead and choose your outfit.
The interviewer is going to take one look at your outfit and form conclusions about you. You should therefore carefully select your outfit so that it doesn't give out any wrong signals. Going for an interview in a pair of denims may signify that you have a laid-back attitude and couldn't care much if you got the job or not. Hence, always dress appropriately for interviews.
Think about the company you're interviewing at
If it is a multi-national corporate you're interviewing at, it would be best for men to turn up in a suit, complete with a tie and formal shoes. The best option for women for this type of interview would be a formal dress with a cardigan or a blazer. However, if you’re interviewing at a startup, both men as well as women would do fine in business casuals.
Dress for success
If you are confident during your interview, you are bound to impress your interviewer more than usual. Confidence comes from within, and therefore you need to be well-dressed if you want to ace the interview. When you are positive that you've left a lasting impression on your interviewer with your choice of outfit, you can be rest assured that half the battle is won.
Don't be afraid to ask for help
If you are going to interview for a Fortune 500 company with a very casual work environment, you might be unsure of how to dress. If in doubt, don't be afraid to ask your point of contact (usually someone from the HR team) for help. Ask them if they expect something different from the outfit you have in mind, but be sure not to bug them with too many questions.
Hiring managers appreciate it when candidates put thought into their choice of outfit. Dressing like you already have the job will take you a long way ahead.
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