“What is Business Professional?”
A question that many, including myself, have Googled in preparation for an interview. Honestly, I wore flip flops to my first job interview. I was also 15 and applying to be a retail sales associate at a very popular Southern-California inspired clothing retailer. They encouraged employees to reflect the beachy brand they were known for, but I soon realized that this was out of the norm when it came to interviews.
Since then, I’ve held several positions. None of which I would have obtained by wearing flip flops to the interview! It’s a rare occasion that an employer will want to see anything less than business casual for an interview and why wouldn’t they? A job interview is often a first impression for both the candidate and the employer. As the candidate, wouldn’t you want to look your absolute best for what may be a life changing career?
Whether you’re interviewing for a senior executive position, an exciting promotion, or your first “real” job out of school, the first impression is critical to making or breaking the job offer. Okay, there are various factors like your experience, energy, enthusiasm, and passion. However, your attire will speak for you before you get the chance to speak for yourself.
Interviewing brings enough jitters and the last thing you need to worry about is what to wear. Along with our Interview Tips, these guidelines will put your mind at ease on what to wear to your interview.
Dress to Impress
Business Professional is highly recommended when interviewing for any opportunity at TMX Finance® Family of Companies. If you didn’t find the exact answer you were looking for in your Google search, follow these tips:
- Think Classic & Conservative when it comes to style and colors. Select classic silhouettes like a standard dress slack or knee-length pencil skirt. Stick to conservative, neutral colors like gray, black, and navy.
- Wear a Suit (or the closest thing to it in your closet.) – Look, suits are expensive. However, they’re an investment in your overall personal brand and worth the price. Look for separates that you can wear after you get the job. No suit? Look for a classic and well-fitting blazer or sport coat to pair with a coordinating dress slack. Male candidates should always wear a tie, but this is optional for female candidates.
- Tuck in Your Shirt – Whether it’s a dress shirt or a nice blouse, it is recommended you tuck it in for a more polished look.
- Dress Shoes – Polish off your ensemble with a great pair of dress shoes. Your interview is not the time to wear to sneakers (or flip flops). Stick with a classic style that you will be comfortable walking in. Open toe shoes for women aren’t out of the question but avoid sandals or anything too casual.
- Socks & Stockings – Your best bet is to wear socks or stockings to your interview, especially if a portion of your legs will be bare.
- Add a Belt- While you’re at it, add a belt that coordinates with your shoe color. This rule is more common for men wearing suits.
- Accessorize with Caution – Remember the first tip on “classic and conservative?” When it comes to jewelry, watches, and any other accessory, keep it simple. Refrain from jewelry that makes a lot of noise when you move (like bangles or stacked bracelets). If you love your smart watch, turn off notifications and noises—anything that would distract you and the interviewer.
- Be Wrinkle-Free – Ensure your clothes are ironed/pressed and stay away from fabrics that wrinkle easily.
- Remove Pet Hair and Lint – Often overlooked, especially when you love your furry friend!
- Groom Your Hair – Keep your hair, especially facial, well-kept and maintained. Your hair should look clean and professional, whether it is slicked back in a ponytail or styled to frame your face. When it comes to beards, keep them well trimmed. Stick with a natural or non-distracting hair color.
Sometimes, it’s easier to explain what not to wear or bring to an interview. These are some definite don’ts that can harm your chances at a successful interview:
- Leave your coffee in the car – Bring the bare minimum with you when interviewing so you and the interviewer can focus on the matter at hand, not the smell of coffee. Plus, you don’t want to risk knocking over a hot cup of coffee on your soon-to-be boss!
- Ditch the gum – Fresh breath is a positive but chewing gum is a huge negative during an interview. Again, you want to focus on the interview.
- Say “No” to fragrance – Topping off a great outfit with a few sprays of your favorite cologne or perfume works best outside of an interview. When you wear perfume or cologne in any amount, you run the risk of the interviewer having an allergic reaction. Plus, too much fragrance can be distracting from your interview.
- Low-cut, unbuttoned, sheer, spaghetti strap and all of the fun things you may wear casually should not be worn to an interview. Remember, you want to look polished and professional.
- If it doesn’t fit, don’t wear it – The last thing you need at your interview is a wardrobe malfunction. If it’s too tight, you run the risk of looking uncomfortable and exposing unwanted skin. If your clothes are too big, you may come across sloppy or unkempt. Go for well-fitting pieces that will make you look great and feel confident.
You know what they say, “dress for the job you want.” Your interview attire should be a reflection of you and a representation of how you will carry yourself once you get the position. The right outfit can lift your spirits and make you feel like a million bucks. You’ll need to look the part and exude confidence if you want the job, so pay attention to detail when it comes to your interview preparation and make sure you dress to impress!