A job interview requires quite some preparation: you inform yourself about the company, you look up the route to the office, you think about possible interview questions, ... However, you also need to set aside some time to choose your outfit for the job interview. After all, you only make a first impression once, so you want to avoid a clothing blunder at all costs.
Viktorien van Loon, managing consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, lists some points of interest when choosing the right outfit.
Find out what the company culture is
To prepare for your job interview, do some research on the prevailing company culture at your potential employer via social media channels. Instagram is obviously a good option, but be sure to check out the organisation's Linkedin page as well. There you may find more footage from the office, rather than during a company party or team building. This will give you a clearer picture of what employees wear on a weekday at the office.
Viktorien: "Do you have friends or acquaintances who are already employed by the organisation in question? Then be sure to ask them about the prevailing dress code. If you are introduced to the organisation through a recruitment agency, the recruiter can give you specific dress advice for the interview."
Keep it professional and neutral
Everyone has their own style, of course, but for the first job interview, try to look for neutrality.
Neon colours, big jewellery or sky-high stiletto heels are best left out this time. Some things are out of the question anyway for being too unprofessional, such as torn trousers or T-shirts, deep décolleté, bare abdomen or sweatpants.
"It is better to err on the side of caution and dress a little more decently," Viktorien knows. "After all, you want to avoid showing up as a job applicant in jeans and T-shirt, while everyone else in the office is wearing dress trousers with a shirt or blouse. Do you get stressed easily at job interviews? Then choose a fabric and colour that makes sweat less visible. Then you won't have to worry about that at all!"
Finally, pay sufficient attention to your shoes. A wrong choice of shoes can completely ruin the best outfit. So no flip-flops, worn-out trainers or flashy trainers, but rather neat shoes in a neutral colour.
Go for a well-groomed impression
Have you found the perfect outfit? Fine, but it doesn't stop there. It is crucial that you look well-groomed. Make sure your clothes are neatly ironed, your shoes polished, your nails neatly trimmed and your hair washed and combed.
"Also remember to smell fresh," Viktorien adds. "If necessary, take a can of deodorant with you to discreetly freshen up just before the interview. Also avoid heavy perfumes or aftershave - after all, people can turn away from scents that are too 'present'."
Online interview? Set the bar equally high
"If your first job interview takes place online, that doesn't mean you should take it any easier. Everyone has seen videos by now where people fall through when they turn out to be wearing pyjama trousers or boxer shorts at an online meeting, for example. Save yourself the humiliation and make sure you are dressed up from head to toe. Also keep in mind that your upper body and face will be in close view during an online meeting. Crumpled collars, dirty nails or runny make-up stand out all the more. So attach sufficient importance to the details," advises Viktorien.
What about subsequent rounds of interviews?
If your job interview goes well, you will undoubtedly be invited for a second and possibly a third interview. Even if these interviews take place with a different employee within the organisation, it is important that you do not put on the exact same outfit as at the first interview. This is because it is perfectly possible that your first interviewer will come and have a chat with you again.
"Don't let your guard down and put together your outfit with the same precision as at the first job interview. A second or third interview is promising, but the selection process is still ongoing. Also make sure you continue the style of your first outfit, and don't switch to a totally different look. After all, you want to make a stable impression with your potential employer," Viktorien concludes.
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