Aced all the questions at the job interview but couldn’t make the cut because you didn’t clean up appropriately? That would be such a shame, wouldn’t it? And trust us, that does happen! According to a study by Frank Bernieri, an associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, your interviewer decides whether or not you’re right for the position within — wait for it — the first 10 seconds of meeting you. Those who come across as ‘polished and pulled together’ are more likely to be hired than those who are seen as putting in less effort. Talk about clothes making the first impression!
Another study ‘The influence of clothing on first impressions: Rapid and positive responses to minor changes in male attire’, published in the Journal Of Fashion Marketing And Management states that a man was rated more positively on all attributes (apart from trustworthiness) when pictured in a bespoke suit. It revealed that even ‘minor clothing manipulations can give rise to significantly different inferences’. The study went on to advise men ‘to purchase clothing that is well‐tailored, as it can positively enhance the imagethey communicate to others’.
In short, prepare well for the interview by all means, but while you’re at it, also put in some thought and effort into how you’re going to look as well. For, now you know, any loose chinks in that armour can cost you the battle too. Get started here…
1. The Clothes
Begin by confirming if the company has any particular dress code. If yes, stick to that. If it is formal, a suit is your only answer. Opt for navy blue or charcoal, they are fail-safe choices. If you want to wear a black one, it will work better if the fabric has some subtle pattern on it, such as stripes, as plain black can be tricky to carry off. Throw on a classy tie, but make sure it’s not anything too ostentatious in terms of colour or even the print, and doesn’t clash with the rest of your outfit.
For a semi formal affair, pair a good button down, tucked in, with chinos or pants. You can even add a blazer (and a tie) to make things more stylish. With the lowers, play safe with tried and tested hues such as navy blue, khaki, black or grey. For the dress shirt too, in both formal and semi-formal looks, stick to classic colors such as whites, grays or blues. If you’re going for a printed shirt, pick subdued ones.
Keep the look simple.This is not a fashion runway so save the experimenting for another time. For now, just ensure each piece of your outfit is in good condition, fits well, is ironed, and stain-free.
2. The Shoes
There are a number of choices when it comes to dress shoes. Classic leather Oxfords and Monk Straps work great with suits. You can opt for smart loafers for the semi casual get up. As a thumb rule (and we can’t reiterate this enough!), avoid any slip-ons, slides, flip flops, sandals or open-toed footwear. They look extremely sloppy and unprofessional, and can be instant deal breakers. Make sure the shoes are well-polished and in good shape, and the laces or straps are clean. Remember the shoes you wear communicate a lot about you. In a study done on University of Kansas students, titled, ‘Shoes As A Source Of First Impressions,in the Journal of Research in Personality, the authors found that ‘people could correctly guess a stranger’s age, gender and income’ just by their shoes. The study, thus, concluded that ‘shoes can indeed be used to evaluate others, at least in some domains’. You’d want to get a 10/10 on this one for sure.
3. The Mane
Do not, we repeat, do not flaunt long locks to the interview. Get a tried and tested (no experiments just before the meeting, please) cut few days before the interview, so you get used to it. Otherwise, just in case you’re unhappy with it, it may affect your confidence and subsequently have an impact on the interview. It’s best to play safe and visit your regular salon for this cut.
If you have long hair that you don’t want to part with at any cost, at least make sure it doesn’t look unkempt or hippie-ish, especially if the interview is a formal one.
4. The Face
As far as the facial fuzz is concerned, sport a beard or shave, as long as it all looks clean and well kept. According to a study, ‘FH100 Index’ by Remington, ‘while 63 per cent of men working in the advertising industry chose to wear some form of facial hair – a beard, moustache or goatee,’ The boardroom biggies, however, prefer a clean shave, with 76 per cent of CEOs in the UK going clean shaven.
But there is good news for the bearded lot too. In a study titled, ‘The Influence Of Facial Hair On Impression Formation’ in Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 228 persons in management positions who made hiring decisions were shown ink sketches of six male job applicants. The sketches varied on the basis of facial hair: some were clean shaven, some moustached, and others bearded. Results ‘indicated consistently more positive perceptions of social/physical attractiveness, personality, competency, and composure for men with facial hair’.