How to dress to impress and make a great first impression
It's often said that a hiring decision can be made within the first few seconds of an interview, which means that what you wear to an interview and making a good first impression can have a big impact on your chances of success.
Doing your research here is very important, as wearing your sharpest suit isn't always the best option – it completely depends on the organisation you're applying to.
What to wear for your next interview:
For fashion retailers and creative agencies you need to strike the right balance between professional and fitting in with their brand look and ethos. Spend some time on their website and see what feel you get from it, and if you're applying through a recruitment agency such as REED, your consultant will be able to give you some advice as well.
For example, if it's a youth fashion brand you're applying to, you're not necessarily best off wearing a suit, but something professional-looking that's relevant to the market. It's more important to be well turned out – well-fitting clothes, crisp clean shoes, and colours and patterns that complement each other, than to go too smart. They will be looking for someone who understands their brand and will fit in with it, so you need to show you can do that.
If it's a charity or less formal organisation you're applying to (perhaps something outdoorsy or more manual), then our advice is to dress one notch above what you consider would be appropriate for the workplace you are interviewing for - for example if employees normally wear jeans and t-shirts, then you'll be fine getting away with smart jeans and a shirt. Your invitation to interview should give you some clues, but it shouldn't hurt to clarify when you accept the offer.
Be wary of the term 'business casual' – you still need to look semi-smart. We'd say avoid jeans, t-shirts and trainers, but otherwise just bear in mind who you're interviewing for.
Most importantly, wear something you feel comfortable in. There's nothing worse than sitting in an interview and not being able to breathe or feeling really self-conscious about your clothes, particularly when you really need to be focussing on what you're saying. Be yourself, and be fabulous