How to Dress for Your Interview

If ever a first impression mattered, it’s in your job interview. Whether you get the job or not, chances are your potential employer will never be more focused on you. As a general rule you want to dress just slightly better than you would for a normal day at this job, and as much as possible look like you belong there.

Think ahead – prepare your interview outfit the night before. Try it on, especially if you haven’t worn it in a while, and make any necessary repairs. Throwing it together at the last minute will not only show in your appearance, it will make you more flustered when you really need to stay calm.

Stay conservative – or at least stay conservative for that particular workplace. Even if you are interviewing for a customer service position in a tattoo/body piercing parlour you have no idea of the specific tastes of your prospective employer. Extremes in clothing, hair, cosmetics, jewellery or attitude can limit your opportunities in ways you can’t predict. It’s much easier to offend by being too wild and faddish than too plain.

Get a second opinion – what is the overall effect of the colours and patterns you’ve chosen? Ask a friend or family member to describe you to yourself. Does their description sound like someone who would be working for this company? If not, try something else.

Grooming matters – hair and fingernails should be clean, neat, and properly cut. Clothes should be clean and freshly pressed, shoes polished, and jewellery understated. Apply extra deodorant just in case.

How’s your breath – bad breath, even if it isn’t chronic, is almost guaranteed to do you in. Brush your teeth immediately before your interview, and don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or eat any foods that will give away what you had for lunch.

You want to come out smelling like a rose, not arrive that way – nowadays many people are allergic to perfumes or simply don’t want to be subjected to them at work. Until you are actually working there and have a chance to find out, avoid scents, including aftershave.

Find a full-length mirror before you go out the door: Do you look confident and ready to start work immediately? Then you’re ready to go.

Checklist of Things to Take With You

  • The complete name of the person who will be interviewing you.
  • Three copies of your resume: one for you to look at during the interview and extras for the interviewer(s).
  • Any training certificates that are related to the job.
  • List of references: name of each reference, their job title, the name of the company they work for, and an address and phone number where they can be reached.
  • Copies of reference and recommendation letters to give to the interviewer.
  • Your driver’s license and Social Insurance Number (SIN) card.

Body Language

  • Smile!
  • Don’t sit down until you are asked to
  • Don’t cross your arms
  • Try not to fidget, or “talk” with your hands
  • Maintain eye contact, and look interested in what the interviewer is saying
  • Stay relaxed, avoid being too “wooden” or stilted
  • Shake hands again as you leave and thank the interviewer(s) for their time