You know the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s always the case when meeting a person for the first time, but especially when it comes to a job interview.

Hot pastel shirts, ripped jeans, an overdose of cologne and a pair of shades might impress your crush in the class. But when it comes to job interviews, doing this would put up an impression that you are not serious about the job and you would join the queue of rejected candidates.

Your subject knowledge confidence and amiability are essential. But making a good first impression by your appearance is very crucial in dictating the final outcome of the job interview. Most of the interviewers take just 2 seconds to judge whether you a potential candidate or not. Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made an impression based on how you’re dressed.

Knowing what to wear to a job interview is an age-old enigma. There is no room for experimentation in this and there are some hard and fast rules to be followed. So here is a guide to make sure you choose a winning outfit to ace that job interview you are applying for.

  1. One notch above

The rule of thumb is to dress one notch above what you would usually consider suitable for the job. If you consider casuals as suitable, wear business casuals to the interview. If business casuals is ideal for work, go in proper formals for the job interview. Remember that you are the “expert”.

This will definitely show that you are serious and care for the job.

  1. Suit Up

When it comes to dressing up for success, the easiest and the most effective way is to invest in a good two-piece tailored suit. You can never go wrong with a single colour suit with a light coloured shirt and a tie.

This would be applicable for both men and women. Women can suit up in either pants or skirts depending upon their comfort and the company culture. Some other things to be noted are:

  • For girls, the length of the skirt should be long enough so that you can sit down comfortably.
  • Wear a single coloured shirt, preferably white. White gives a good impression and makes the other person trust you. While you can go for other light colours such as beige, cream and light pink as well.
  • The trousers should be the right length. They should fall well and should not bunch up at the bottom.
  • The suit should properly fit you. A very loose or a very tight suit makes you uncomfortable and is not very pleasing to the eye.
  • The colour of the suit should be dark. Go for blacks, blues, greys or browns.
  1. Planning to go Indian

Women can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer if they decide to go Indian as well. Wearing kurtis, suits or sarees to a job interview is also a trend that cannot be neglected. The elegance of Indian can get you the much-needed advantage. Wear a plain cotton saree or a salwar-kameez with a dupatta. Put on a blazer above it and you have made a great combination.

White and pastel shades work best for interviews. Dark colours like navy blue and black also look good. Just make sure you avoid a lot of patterns and details. The simple, the better. Also wearing sleeveless is a strict “no”.

  1. Shine those shoes

“Shoes speak louder than words”

One of the best advices for a person trying to impress his interviewer is to invest in a good pair of shoes. Most people don’t pay attention to their shoes, and this is where they murder their chances of getting selected.

Many interviewers look for well polished, clean, decent shoes, which is why it is always advised to polish them well. Nothing defines detail better than a good pair of shoes. In fact, it’s a proven fact that the first thing a person unconsciously notices about another person is always the shoes.

  • Men should wear leather lace-up or slip-on dress shoes in black or brown.
  • While women should go for closed pumps. A basic pump is versatile, flattering and will stay in style forever.

Shoes should be fairly low heeled. High heels are difficult to walk-in. You don’t want to grab attention while hobbling in uncomfortable noisy shoes.

  1. Bling is not the thing

“Too much bling is not the thing.”

Wearing a lot of jewellery, piercings and flashy things is only going to distract you and the interviewer. Avoid necklaces and flashy hair accessories. Stick to those that are not flashy, distractive or shiny. One ring per hand is the best. You want the interviewer to pay attention to you and not the bling.

  1. Pass on the Perfume

Flaunting that new Chanel or Armani perfume in the interview is probably not the best advice. Don’t drench yourself in cologne or deodorant. You never know if your interviewer is allergic and this isn’t a good way to find out. This could even give him a headache the moment you enter. A gentle spray of a light perfume is enough to smell good for the day.

  1. Tats under Wraps

Celebrities like Angelina Jolie or Deepika Padukone might have upped the cool factor of tattoos by flaunting it. But this does not mean it is something appropriate to show off in a job interview. This might send a wrong impression about you not being serious about the job. Dress in such a way that the tattoo is hidden.

  1. Pay Attention to the Details

Paying heed to the most trivial details is very crucial.  Because these small details add up substantially to your overall look and impression. If you belong to the class of people who believe that only girls color code their clothes with their accessories, you’ll have to think again!

Both the guys and the girls need to pay heed to the color of their Shoes, Socks and Belt. There is no dead set rule about it, but preferably the colour of the socks should match the color of your trousers/skirts and the belt should match the shoes.

The clothes should be perfectly ironed! A wrinkled shirt would give the impression of a lousy personality and disinterest, and you surely wouldn’t want that. So, check for any dangling threads or loose/missing buttons a few days before so that you can save yourself from the last moment hurry and panic.

Nails should be perfectly trimmed and clean. Girls should avoid wearing any nail polish, especially flashy colours, which make you look very unprofessional.

  1. Tidy up the Hair

Your hairstyle is a very important part of your persona. A hairstyle can easily make or break your impression! Just like you dress yourself up according to the occasion you need to dress up your hair too. Guys need to ensure that they have a neat haircut and a dapper hairstyle. Pointy spikes and very long hair would land you a job only if you are applying for a position in a rock band!

Girls need to ensure that their hair is securely tied in a way that they don’t distract her or the interviewer mid-interview. A High-Bun or slick ponytail would be perfect for long hair and short haired girls can use hairbands to keep their hair off their face.

  1. Don’t Wake up just for Makeup (For Girls)

Minimal is the best bet when you are going for an interview. Remember you are not going to an interview for a modeling agency and the interviewer is not going to hire you on the basis of your makeup skills. Neither are you going to attend a big fat Indian wedding. Keep it simple!! Flashy makeup is a big no! A dash of kajal and a balm to keep chipped lips at bay is enough to preen you up before an interview.

Remember guys, when you look good, you tend to feel good. A well groomed person feels a lot more confident and self-assured than a person who is dressed up lousily. A confident person who is comfortable in his own skin tends to make the people around him comfortable too. You end up putting up an excellent presentation and a lasting impression on the interviewer!

Go ahead, use these simple grooming commandments and ace that next big interview with Panache!


The above article has been authored by Hency Batheja