by Lisa McGrimmon
Many people are not quite sure how to dress for an interview. So, what exactly is appropriate job interview attire?
Actually, it depends. Appropriate interview attire depends on the employer and the type of job you are seeking. You should aim to dress one level above the way you would dress on a typical work day at that job.
If your job interview attire is too casual, you are not showing the employer that you've put any extra effort into preparing for the interview. However, if you dress in a way that is too formal, you could come across as though you don't really understand the nature of the job, and the employer may worry that you won't fit in with existing staff, clients or customers.
Some people choose to ask about the standard dress code when they are called to the interview. While this is not a bad interview preparation strategy, and it's better than having no information, you might not always get all of the information you need with this strategy. For example, one person's idea of office casual may be wearing a skirt without nylons, while another person's idea of casual may be jeans and a t-shirt.
The best way to determine how to dress for a particular job interview is to go to the place of business a day or two before the interview. Watch staff coming and going and see how they are dressed; that will give you an excellent idea of how people dress at that particular company. Then you'll have all of the information you need to ensure you are dressed in a way that is just a little more formal than the way you'd dress on a typical work day.
When you're deciding how to dress for an interview, keep in mind that casual Friday does not apply to job searching. If your interview is on a Friday, dress as you would for an interview on any other day of the week. Normally employers will dress up a bit for interviews, even if it happens to fall on a casual Friday. However, if you go to an interview on a casual Friday, and all of the staff and the employer are wearing jeans while you are dressed more formally; don't worry, you've done the right thing.
Be aware of details when you dress for an interview. Shine your shoes, trim your nails and carefully iron your clothes. Some employers notice details of your dress, and it makes an impact on their first impressions of you.
Decide what you will wear at least the day before the interview, preferably sooner. Once you've decided how you will dress for an interview, try everything on at least a day before your interview. You don't want to discover your best dress shirt has a stain or doesn't fit anymore on the day of the interview. Go through a complete trial run with your interview outfit so there will be no surprises on the day of the interview.