What to wear to your job interview

“Whatever you do… make sure you are better dressed than your best dressed client.”

These were the words that haunted me throughout my recruitment career. My best dressed client, wore head to toe black Hugo Boss. Her hair perfectly coiffed, make up like a Christian Dior counter girl, nails immaculate, not a chip in sight.

So after fifteen years of interviewing I’ve formulated my own general rule for interview dressing; Make sure you are better dressed than the person interviewing you. That means, that you’ve taken the time and effort to go above and beyond. Whether you are interviewing for a blue chip corporate or a sassy start up, here are some pointers to help you make the best first impression.

The Professional 

This is your classic interview look. Perfect for professional firms, corporate companies, financial services firms and banks. Invest in a classic suit, think French navy, black, grey or pinstripe, crisp white shirt or slim cut silk blouse, closed toe shoes and yes ladies, pantihose. I once had a client, who insisted that if a candidate wasn’t bothered about getting stockings for the interview, they were going to be bothered going the extra mile in the job. Hair and makeup should be corporate – meaning a professional polished look. Make sure you go the extra mile, hair off your face, neatly tied back or purposely styled. Details matter, take the time to polish your shoes, professionally press your shirt.

Interview dressing


Smart business

I remember an old boss of mine saying that it didn’t matter if you were interviewing for a job at McDonalds, wear a suit. To be honest, there are times it’s just not appropriate. Some of my clients pride themselves on their culture, which is far removed from a corporate suit and tie. In fact, coming to their interviews “suited and booted” means you haven’t done the research, perhaps are too stuffy and are not the right fit.  Here I think its best to do some research to what their people are wearing and try to mirror it. Perhaps if they wear smart jeans, top and blazer, you could do smart pants, with crisp shirt and blazer. Or maybe a classic dress, with ankle boots.

What to wear business casual

Smart casual men

Final rules

  • Whatever you decide to wear, make sure it is something you feel comfortable in. There is no point wearing sky high stilettos and being unable to walk around the office.
  • The clothes you wear should make you feel confident and should reflect your personality or style. Check out Witchery, Country Road and David Jones.
  • Chose your accessories wisely, less is sometimes more. A great feature piece is a good talking point, but not if its distracting and overtakes the interview.
  • Note to self – if you have taken the effort to look good, make sure you smell good too. I kid you not, but you may not be aware of your personal body odour, smoke smell etc.
  • Above all, make sure you have taken it seriously and are a couple of notches above the interviewer. Its all in the details.

Good luck!