Some people persist in thinking that their appearance has very little
to do with their ability to perform in a job, and so give little
consideration to how they dress for an interview. Whilst the logic
in this thinking may be unassailable, it is a dangerous thing to do
because it fails to take into account that interviews are largely about
managing perceptions. Interviewers have certain expectations about
dress codes. Failing to meet those expectations is dangerous.
The rule of the thumb for dress and appearance is to err on the
side of caution. On the whole, interviewers tend to be cautious and
conservative when hiring someone. The last thing an employer
wants to do is to hire the wrong person. Reliability, loyalty,
consistency, trustworthiness and dependability are qualities that all
employers seek in employees, no matter what type of job it is. Your
task at the interview is to signal to the interviewer that you have
all those qualities, and dressing appropriately represents a good start.
Here are some tips:
• Always make a point of wearing clean clothes and shoes.
• Jeans (or anything else) with holes in them may make a posi-
tive impression on the dance floor, but are unlikely to inspire
• Avoid excessive jewellery and makeup.
• A designer stubble may make you look manly and represent the
latest word from the fashion gurus; however, it’s likely to make
the interviewer think that you didn’t think the job was impor-
tant enough for you to bother shaving.
• Avoid extreme hairstyles.
• Avoid displaying too much skin.
There is a sensible school of thought that advocates dressing
according to the nature of the job you’re applying for. So, if you’re
applying for an accountant’s position, you wear a business suit,
whereas if you’re applying for a labourer’s position on a building
site, a business suit is inappropriate. All this is true; however, the
above tips on dress and appearance remain important.