Going for an interview can be a nerve wracking experience for most of us. Not only are we facing someone who will decide whether we get the job but we have to present the best version of ourselves. Feeling nervous before an interview is a good sign because it shows that you care about the outcome of your performance. However, there are a few things you can do to feel more confident in an interview and looking your best is one of them. Did you know that dressing well can boost your confidence in most social situations? An interview is no different.
According to research, interviewers reach their decision about most applicants within the first four minutes of meeting them. Unfortunately, even if you are the perfect candidate for the role, if you don’t dress the part you are likely to get rejected. This is why it’s essential to dress to impress. Having said that, this doesn’t mean that dressing well will allow the interviewer to overlook a badly prepared or unsuitable candidate for the role. So how exactly does one dress for the occasion?
Firstly, you must wear a suit to an interview and secondly, it’s important to ensure that the suit fits really well. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wearing a suit that’s one size too big, which is never a good look. An ill fitting suit gives the impression that you have made little to no effort in your dressing while making you look under confident. If you have purchased a store made suit, its important to visit the tailor to get it perfectly fitted to your shape. A common mistake found in men’s suits is the sleeve ends below the wrist, making the suit look too big for you.
A perfectly fitted two piece suit is best worn to an interview because a three piece suit, which also includes an inner vest, would be considered too formal for the occasion and is more appropriate for a wedding, for example.
Equally as important as choosing a well fitted suit, is finding a suit in the appropriate shade. It goes without saying that loud and bright colors such as red, yellow and orange are off limits for an interview. Instead opt for standard business shades such as Black, Navy or charcoal Gray. In fact, dark blue is considered the perfect shade for an interview as it conveys a sense of calm along with confidence. The key is to find a suit that is the right mix of your personality and which also looks professional. If ever in doubt, it’s best to choose a conventional look rather than a flamboyant outfit which will definitely get noticed, but for all the wrong reasons. Research found that 37% of interviewers rejected a candidate based on what they were wearing to the interview.
Along with the two piece suit, accessories are just as important. If you have any piercings or tattoos, making sure they are not visible during the interview. When picking out a tie, you could choose a slightly brighter color than the suit but still practice some caution. Another point to remember when getting dressed is to avoid wearing brightly colored socks because when you are seated they will definitely be visible, making you look uncoordinated. Lastly, avoid a heavy application of aftershave or perfume as this will distract and possibly give your interviewer a headache.
Of course, it will be an added bonus to exercise regularly and be in great shape because exercise gives you plenty of energy while also releasing endorphins, which make you feel good about yourself. This translates into increased confidence levels in an interview.
When you are nervous or anxious during or before the interview, blood flows away from your brain, making you unable to think clearly. To avoid this, practice slow and deep breathing to bring the Oxygen back into your brain as soon as you feel your anxiety levels rising. Don’t let your nerves get the best of you during an interview.
Dressing the part is not only recommended for in-person interviews, but also for telephonic interviews. Some recruiters recommend behaving as though you are going for an actual interview even if it’s a telephonic interview. This means wearing your best suit, shoes and anything else that you would wear to an in-person interview. This method helps you more easily behave as you would in a traditional interview environment since it immediately puts you in a professional mindset.
When you wear something that looks great on you, it immediately gives you a confidence boost because when you look good, you feel good as well. Keep this tip in the back of your mind the next time you go shopping for work clothes.
Even though clothes have a huge part to play in how confident we feel, ultimately it’s how you feel about yourself from the inside that has an effect on your self-esteem and confidence, and this is what comes through during an interview as well. It’s important to remember that an interview is not a life or death situation and the person sitting opposite you is a human being as well.
While dressing the part and exuding confidence can get you far in an interview, ultimately it is your suitability for the position that will get you the job. So make sure you are well prepared and try rehearsing answers for any potential questions with a friend or even in front of a mirror. In the meantime, think positively and keep your nerves calm by believing in yourself. If they didn’t like you as a candidate they would never have asked to interview you in the first place! Keep reminding yourself of this fact the next time you find yourself becoming nervous before a big interview. All the best!