We’ve all heard the old saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” and believe me, it’s just as true today as it was back in the day when fedora’s dotted the sidewalk hat-scape and everyone walked around like a living, breathing episode of Mad Men; dressing for interview success never goes out of style. The way you dress to an interview isn’t just an indicator of appearance, it goes so much deeper than that. A recruiter can assume your potential performance by taking one glance at how you show up for an interview,… and in the interview process (just like in life), you never want to sell yourself short. We only have one chance at a first impression so the way you dress is vital to the outcome of that ‘personal brand transaction’. To that end, we’ve put together a quick guide on dressing for interview success so that you can go into your next interview with confidence and style! These four ‘dressing for success’ tips will shape the way you are perceived in the interview, improve your hiring chances, and show you just how important perception is to how you present yourself.
1. It’s Better to Over Dress than to Under Dress
Whenever I think about over-dressing for an in interview I can’t help but think of one of my favorite movies. There’s a memorable scene in the movie Step Brothers where the two step brother characters wear tuxedos to a job interview. This is played up to humorous effect because they would never need to dress in tuxedos for the job they were applying to, but despite the Hollywood hilarity, they had the right idea; dressing to impress. They had a better shot dressed like that, as opposed to showing up in shorts in flip flops. Don’t ever worry about being too dressed up for an interview. By looking the part or even more than the part, you show that you are taking the interview seriously and you want to appear professional. You will never get dinged for looking too professional, but looking too sloppy will cost you the interview every time, so can the Crocs and forget the flannel; just like Captain America says, ‘You got a suit? Suit up!’
2. Everyone’s Sunday Best is Different
Anytime I had an interview my parents would always tell me to dress in my Sunday best. Now I knew what that meant to me, but my Sunday best isn’t the same as everybody else’s. For someone else a Sunday outfit might mean jeans and a polo, which (although not unpleasant for a lunch date) isn’t the best bet for interview wear. When dressing for the interview you should think bigger than Sunday best; it should be better than your own ‘perceived’ best. Wearing what you think is best on Sunday to church is completely up to you, but job interviews require something much more professional in some cases, and typically involve a formal approach to business attire. If you’re looking to get some great ideas on what actual ‘business attire’ entails, simply take 5 minutes and do a Google search for “business attire for women” or “business attire for men” to get a good look at what comes back. You might be surprised at what your should be wearing.
3. If You Have to Think About It, Change Your Outfit
We’ve all been there — we are about to leave the house and we aren’t sure if what we are wearing will ‘work’. If you have to think about whether or not the interviewer will pass judgment on a style choice, then you already have your answer. Fumbling with fashion before an interview is a lot like parking your car on the train tracks and sitting there while trying to decide if you should back up — there’s a whistle blowing in the distance, and (not to put too fine a point on it), you really should. You want to play the interviews close to the vest. After all, you need to look the part for where you are working. After you get the job you can see their style guidelines and you may be able to express yourself more (in fact some companies encourage it), but the interview is all about appearing professional no matter how much you hate dressing up. Bottom line, if you’re having doubt about your duds, level up your attire before leaving the house for that big meeting.
4. The Way You Dress Can Be Powerful
Whenever we see men in suits and women dressed elegantly and professionally we tend to have a much different opinion on them. We tend to be more respectful and (in some cases) assume these people are important and successful. That may not always be the case, but that just goes to show just how powerful dressing the part can be. They say that ‘clothes make the man (or woman)’ and I know personally when I put on a suit for an interview, it completely changes my interview performance and my bearing during my communication with people. I feel more in control and assured of myself. I can even sense a change in the gravity and pitch of my voice and the way I compose my body language in order to project confidence. It’s easier to prove how you can do the job if you also look the part. You look like more of an authority on the subject, you capture their attention, and you might be the most professional person they’ve encountered all week — which goes a long way. If you look like you belong wherever you are interviewing, then you can bring that confidence into your interview. And also, if you’re prone to stage fright or speaking in front of people, just remember that putting on that ‘power suit’ can be a powerful ‘cocktail’ of calming control for those pre-interview nerves!
Conclusions About Clothing & Candidates
The hardest part of about interviewing for a job is landing that interview and hopefully receiving an offer. Do yourself a favor — don’t ruin that by poor style choices. You’ve worked too hard for the opportunity to interview, to simply be passed on based on how you dressed for 30 minutes of your life. You want to be remembered for your interviewing skills, not for whether your tie was crooked or if you were missing a belt. Dressing the part is the easiest part, but it’s also easy to overlook in the lead up to any interview. You want to present the best version of you possible, and by dressing your best you only give yourself the confidence to crush your dream interview. So before your big interview,… remember — do your business attire research, over-dress the part like a boss, always feel good about what you’re wearing before leaving the house, and learn to get comfortable in formal wear (even if it means a trip to Macy’s). Opportunities come once in a lifetime, so don’t skimp on your future by committing a fashion fail!
Interested in a career in travel and hospitality with Westgate? We’re always thrilled to meet inspired, hard-working, creative candidates who want to make a real impact in the hospitality landscape. Explore our open positions here at Westgate Careers and discover the Westgate difference today!