Interviews – What to wear.

Having just completed an interview on BBC Oxford Radio about this, I thought it would be useful to put together a few words to offer some guidance on what to wear for interviews and how to present ourselves.

Whilst we are all entitled to our individuality and “to be our own person” it is important that we present prospective employers with a conservative version of ourselves. 

It is essential that the very first impression we give to an interviewer, is that we are smart, that we have made a special effort to look presentable, that we want to fit into their business, that we will represent their business well and that we are aware of the ways things should be done.

Ideal workwear which is suitable for an interview

Dark coloured suit black or navy - with matching skirt and jacket or trousers and jacket, A plain dress and matching/contrasting jacket works well too.

Girls wearing a suit should consider a plain light coloured top under their suit jacket. Remember you may want to take your jacket off at some point so make sure that you are confident to do that; -  that your top has sleeves, is not revealing your underwear, is not low at the front and you can bend down in it without showing cleavage and is not at all transparent.

Try your jacket trousers and shirt/ top on together before the day of your interview to make sure they fit smoothly and comfortably together.

If wearing a suit, men should be wearing an ironed plain light coloured shirt – ideally a white shirt. The shirt should fit well and not be tight. Men are usually expected to wear a tie with their shirts. Top buttons must be done up and shirts are usually worn with a conservative plain tie.

All clothes should fit correctly and not be too tight or pulling at buttons. Clothes should conceal underwear. It is not acceptable to be showing underwear through clothing. (not for most jobs anyway!).  If your shirt is too tight, you will be worried about the buttons popping open and gaping when you move.

Dark coloured well polished clean shoes (Girls – don’t go for the highest heels they are impractical and could risk making you look less serious)

If you carry a bag with you make sure it is clean and smart and that you can close it easily. You do not want to have an overflowing handbag/rucksack. It will make you look messy and disorganised.If your bag matches your shoes all the better.  Boys – do wear a smart plain belt with your suit trousers.

Hair should be clean neat and tidy. If your hair style is one that means that your hair easily falls over your eyes and face, then style it differently. The interviewer should be able to clearly see all of your face when they are talking to you.

Make-up should be kept to a minimum. Just enough to make you look  sophisticated , well groomed and well put together. Light foundation, mascara and lipstick will suffice.  Remember in most jobs, heavy make up is not considered appropriate.

Hair Products - Should be kept to a minimum. You don't want to look like someone who spends all day styling and shaping their hair!

Jewellery should be kept to a minimum. Jangly ear rings and bracelets are not acceptable.  Sorry no festival bands! Boys remove any leather bracelets/bangles too.

Hands and nails must be spotlessly clean and nail varnish should be a neutral colour and certainly not chipped!

Piercings - Not everyone likes piercings so if you can remove them for your interview do.

Mobile Phones – SWITCHED OFF – This is an absolute rule. Not on silent – SWITCHED OFF!

Good Luck!


All the best from Better People.

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