Suiting Up for a Job Interview

Posted November 21st, 2017

They say first impressions are important. That's kinda unfair, isn't it?

Appearance-based discrimination happens all the time in the hiring process. And while you can’t help the color of your skin, your body size, or your gender, you can do something about what you wear and how you wear it to give yourself a fighting chance.

When you go in for a job interview, the first impression you make on your potential employer could determine the outcome of the hiring process. In fact, 30% of hiring decisions are made within the first five minutes of an interview. That’s why what you wear and how you present yourself are so important.

While it’s true that confidence and competence are the most important accessories for any job interview outfit, there are definitely a few hard lines where attire is concerned.

The general rule is this: look sharp. Professional. Iron your clothes so they don’t look rumpled. Don’t own an iron? Hang them up on a hanger in the bathroom while you take a hot shower. The wrinkles will steam out.

Tuck your hair behind your ears or tie it back. Your interviewer wants to see your face. They don’t want to have to peer through a jungle of side bang to make eye contact. Studies show that candidates with straight hair are more likely to get hired than those with curly hair. Likewise, taller people and more conventionally attractive people get a leg up in the hiring process.

(I know. It’s gross. And unfair. But that’s social science for you.)

If you look neat and clean, it gives you an air of maturity and professionalism that is more likely to counteract an employer’s natural prejudices. They won’t dwell so much on other aspects of your physical appearance if you present yourself with care and cleanliness.

And absolutely NO FLIP-FLOPS.

Always error on the side of formality. If the job you’re applying for will ultimately mean jeans 5-days a week, swell! But for the interview, a suit or professional outfit is mandatory. It shows you took the time to carefully consider every aspect of their interview preparation. It shows you respect the professionalism of the workplace. And that speaks very highly of your thoughtfulness and attention to detail.

Suit up! It’s game time.