Being a student isn’t all parties and socialising — there are a lot of stressful times involved, too! Juggling late nights at the library for revision, spending hours meeting that 10,000-word target for your dissertation, and trying to find a job to walk into after graduation can get a bit much. Not to mention that part-time job. When you eventually get invited to an interview, they are often with short notice and come around quickly — leaving you with little time to decide what to wear! So, what’s the perfect interview outfit?
Interview type: business casual
Many employers ask interviewees to adopt a ‘business casual’ dress code. This may be because they have this dress code in the office or it may be for an assessment day where you are expected to be there all day and recruiters want you to feel comfortable.
If in doubt, your safest bet is to overdress than go in to an interview looking too casual!
A smart, plain shirt is the best choice for male interviewees. Why not invest in a non-iron shirt? It stays free of creases and there’s no need to rush around with the iron the morning before the interview! Also, if you’re travelling by car or public transport to the interview, a normal shirt can crease — something you can avoid with a non-iron garment.
Don’t wear a polo shirt — it’s too informal — and stay away from jeans.
Female interviewees have plenty of freedom when it comes to dressing for this type of interview. You could wear pinstripe or patterned dress slacks with a smart shirt tucked in. Alternatively, you can wear a dress shirt with a wide collar and pull a long-sleeved thin jumper over the top. This look gives off a formal impression, whilst not as professional as a shirt and suit jacket.
Interview type: professional
Formal interviews may be daunting, but you can help instil confidence in yourself by choosing an outfit that will get you in the right frame of mind. You want to look your best here — your appearance certainly counts! With the high level of competition at this stage, you don’t want to fall at any hurdles.
CT Shirts, retailers of mens suits are ideal for this scenario. Wear dark socks to blend in with your outfit and bring a briefcase to look professional. Brogues are a good choice of footwear — they are stylish and smart without being mundane. Choose a tailored suit that you feel represents your style, a slim leg may be best suited for you and your shape.
Similarly, women should consider a formal suit to help them look the part in these interviews. If you decide to wear a skirt, wear one with a hemline just below the knee to avoid it rising and becoming too revealing. A suit doesn’t have to be boring — shop around and discover suits that are tailored in different ways — find one that suits your body shape. When it comes to footwear, heels are acceptable but make sure you can walk with confidence in them. If you don’t feel happy wearing heels, opt for pumps or shoes with a smaller heel.
Interview type: casual
Internships and jobs within certain sectors often don’t require a formal interview outfit. For these interviews, it is likely that they will be more concerned with your personality, including your punctuality. Of course, it’s always good to make a positive first impression, so still consider what you’re wearing.
This dress code may not be as easy to follow for men as it is for women, as it’s easier for men to look simply ‘underdressed’. Jeans are definitely appropriate, but steer clear of ripped jeans. You should avoid wearing joggers or tracksuit tops, as these will not give off the best impression. A safe option would be a long-sleeved top, jeans, dress shoes such as Chelsea boots or brogues, and a smart jacket.
Everything from skirts to jeans is fine for women in a casual interview. To ensure you still look presentable, you should avoid mini-skirts with bare legs and ripped jeans. You could wear a smart dress with tights and a cardigan or a shirt-jumper combo with a smart pair of slacks or jeans.
Don’t stress about shoes, either. Opt for a smart ankle boot or flat pump, and perhaps avoid trainers and high heels.
Clothing choices to dodge
Confidence is key — and what you wear can affect this! However, there are a few things that you should avoid. Don’t wear too much accessories, jewellery or makeup. These will just be an annoyance during an interview and could distract you or the interviewer. Also, avoid putting on lots of perfume or aftershave — you don’t want to overpower the situation!