Dress for Success! Dress for A Winning Interview


    With exams wrapping up, many tertiary students will be heading into the workforce, permanently or for the summer holidays.

    However, getting a job is much more than how you impress with your resume of academic and experiential achievements. How you impress with your dress also matters. When you go for an interview, you only have a single chance to make a first impression, says Minette Bryan, chair of Dress for Success Jamaica, a non-profit organisation which assists disadvantaged women with work attire and career development tools.

    Dress for the job you want

    “You only get one opportunity to make that first impression, how you attire yourself for your interview is very important. The manner of dress should be in keeping with the type of job you’re going for, so even though we say, “dress in a suit”, the type of job you’re going for may not require a suit, but you should dress neatly in a simple formal attire. It should be appealing, nothing too flamboyant or that will detract from your appearance. Your attire should be modest; no plunging neckline and no obvious features on your clothing that will detract from you,” she encouraged.

    For men, she advised that they may not have to wear a tie or a suit, but if they are opting for a pants and a shirt, it should be neat, clean and the garments should fit properly and in keeping with the job they’re going for.

    She informed that job seekers should ensure they pay attention to hygiene before the interview, and if wearing cologne or perfume, it should not be overpowering. She said shoes should also be properly cleaned.

    Mrs Bryan added that interviewees can research the company they’re interviewing for to see how their employees attire themselves; and they should also dress comfortably.

    She recommends clothing and suits which are in neutral colours such as grey, brown, and black.

    Wear simple jewellery and hairstyle

    Jewellery, she said, should be simple to enhance the attire; and hairstyles should be modest and well-groomed. Nails should be simply done with neutral nail polish if polish is being worn and without added decoration.

    Recruiter and talent acquisition manager at The JN Group, Tiffany Lee Beckmann, shared and emphasised Mrs Bryan’s viewpoint, noting that job seekers should put effort in their appearance.

    “As much as how it is said that the hiring process is objective and we look at the person’s qualification and skillset to decide who is the best fit, how you dress does play a part in our overall view of best fit [for the job],” she expressed.

    She shared that how one dresses represents he or she is viewed as a person and forms a part of the first impression that people will make of the individual and further stated that interviewees should stick to the formal attire for interviews or dress based on the industry of the job.

    “One of the things that I usually tell young people when they are making the transition into the world of work is to keep it as minimal as possible and aligned to what is traditionally acceptable. Stick to colours that are not flashy and stay away from colours like bright red,” she pointed out.

    Mrs Lee Beckmann said some companies may ban certain types of jewellery based on the dress code, so unless the interviewer is clear that a nose ring, for example, is acceptable, she would advise against wearing such items.

    Dress appropriately for virtual interviews

    “In recent times, we have not underscored how interviewees dress as much, given the shift in dynamics in a lot of interviews being done remotely. However, dressing appropriately for an interview is still relevant when being done online, Mrs Lee Beckman said.

    Irrespective of the space being virtual, she says interviewees still need to have that “work readiness appearance,” at least for the top half of the body which will be shown on camera.

    Look pleasant and be polite

    “Finally, a smile goes a long way. I don’t expect you to be grinning, but a simple smile is recommended. Be courteous and pleasant to your interviewers and look approachable. Leave your problems at the door and get ready to embrace all that is available to you,” Mrs Bryan advised.

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