This Daily Telegraph article was linked to on the BBC website, and got me thinking about the subject. It mostly offers sound counsel, although there are a couple of bloomers such as “If you are applying to a very traditional organisation, then they are likely to have a stricter dress code e.g. pin-stripe suit.” Maybe only adhere to that one if being interviewed by fellow Telegraph readers.
The suggestion that one should invest in a new outfit throws up several quandries. This can easily result in you appearing faddish, or as though you are dressed to impress, rather than as yourself. We’ve all been shopping for something in particular only to settle for what is almost there, but not quite right. If you do adopt this approach, I suggest you wear the outfit several times before the interview to ensure you feel comfortable, it softens around your body and does not scream “this is who I am today”.
Hilary Clinton said “hair matters. Your hair will send significant messages to those around you . . . . Pay attention to your hair.” Have you noticed how her hair has changed since she stopped being Bill’s wife, and started negotiating in the Middle East?
It is widely acknowledged that someone’s hair tells you how they want to be seen, their shoes tell you who they are. Both matter.
The best advice I can give is to find out who will be in the room, their position and where you will fit into the hierarchy. Do make sure you look like one of them, but at the same time match their expectations. Many would feel threatened by a junior who is younger, fresher and more sharply attired than the rest of the office. At the same time, if it is a management post you need to look like you know the rules and have both the confidence and authority to exercise them. We have never had so much information available to us in advance of these situations. Show some initiative and use it to get ahead.
And, remember that if someone is looking at what you are wearing, they are not listening to what you are saying. Which would you rather they noted?