This is a guest post from, Jonathan Dempster, a recent graduate in the UK who landed a job after six months of interviewing. Here are his tips for managing your appearance in an interview.
As business needs become more specific and tailored, what is considered the exemplary candidate is increasingly subjective. When it comes to interviewing, it’s all about “understanding your audience” and standing out. With stiff competition for every job, even the smallest details–such as the color of what you wear–could help you gain the job of your dreams.
Get noticed = Get the job
When looking for a role, understanding what the company wants from a staff member is one of the easiest ways of standing out from your competitors. However, it isn’t all about what you say. A report by the BBC suggests that 55% of the impact you make at work depends on how you look and behave–only 7% depends on what you actually say.
Therefore, if you can get your look right, you’re likely to have a better chance in the interview process. Depending on your industry, the color decisions you make can go a long way to get you noticed. According to the report, red can be intimidating, and not good for the office. On the other hand, green is seen as soothing and can show commitment.
50 shades of grey
Depending on the role you have applied for, certain colors could be used to enhance the impression you make. Grey is a very popular color for a business suit, however, it’s also the only color with no direct psychological properties. In fact, evidence suggests heavy use of grey may indicate a lack of confidence and could have a stifling effect on other colors you wear with it. On the other hand, a dark grey suit can look very stylish without the harshness that a black suit brings.
Remember to avoid black. Although it may be useful for other events down the line, a black suit is very harsh, especially when combined with a white shirt. Due to the authority connotations associated with it, it could set up a boundary between you and the interviewer, and lead to a situation where the interviewer doesn’t think you would be suitable.
A dark navy suit is a very professional color, and the psychological properties of blue suggest trustworthiness and loyalty. It’s also a very safe color that complements the majority of others well (and goes well with a lot of skin tones).
If you’re in a desk role in a relatively laid back office, coming in with a formal suit may be slightly too much. It may put a shadow of doubt in the mind of your interviewer that you might not fit into the office culture. Once this seed has been planted, they will be looking for reasons to confirm their judgements.
Details, details, details!
Although they will play the smallest part of getting the job, shoes ultimately say more about someone than a lot of people give them credit for. Think a nice pair of formal shoes for men or a solid and neat heel for the ladies. Keep the colors very basic; a general rule of thumb is that your shoes should be at least as dark as your suit, and remember to make sure you’re wearing the same color belt.
So…what should I wear?
Remember, it is all about remaining traditional with your color choices, but standing out at the same time. Wearing what makes you feel good will make you feel and act more confident, therefore giving a confident impression to your potential employer. Just keep some of these tips in mind.