First impressions count.
FOUR INTERVIEWS, FOUR LOOKS
ONE SHOT AT A FIRST IMPRESSION – WHAT TO WEAR TO AN INTERVIEW
• WORDS: C. STEWART
You’ve heard the saying ‘dress for the job you want’? Well, what about how that job would want you to dress?
In other words: if you’re going for an interview, you want your interviewer to picture you doing the job. What you wear needs to show you’re serious about the role but also that you’re a good fit for the company culture – a three-piece suit is pretty much mandatory for a City job, but wear one to a creative agency and they might mistake you for their accountant.
That said, great tailoring does wonders for your confidence. We surveyed British men and over half said they felt most professional and confident in a suit at work. It follows, then, that making an effort to dress smartly will impress your interviewer and also give you a boost of confidence when it matters. Win-win.
So, back to the question in hand: what to wear to an interview? Our advice is to tailor your outfit to the kind of company that’s interviewing you. Here’s our take on what to wear for four types of interview: corporate, agency, video, and meet the team.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR A CORPORATE INTERVIEW
The first rule of the corporate world? Wear a suit. If you’re interviewing for a role in finance, law or another hierarchal private sector company, you’re going to need to bring out your tailoring A-game.
The expectation will be for you to dress conservatively, so a three-piece suit is a smart move. Don’t just dig out your old navy one though – you should step it up a little if you want to make a memorable impression with what to wear for an interview.
Black is universally accepted as businesswear as well as universally flattering. You can get away with a subtle pattern, but sometimes it’s good to stay classic like this black suit. You’ll exude confidence, look put together and won’t have to worry about looking out of place.
If you have decided on a patterned suit, you’ll need to show a bit of restraint with the rest of your outfit. This is not the time or the place for flashy cufflinks. A pocket square probably isn’t needed either but if you really want one, stick to plain white.
As for the tie? Match it up with your suit – a black oxford silk tie will feel classic and smart. Or, simply go without. Many places aren’t particular about ties anymore as long as you’re wearing a suit, and you can still look smart without one (though do your research on the company to check).
WHAT TO WEAR FOR AN AGENCY INTERVIEW
If you’re headed to an agency interview, chances are you’re still going to want to wear a suit. This is the world of 9-5 (perhaps a bit more), and office uniforms that haven’t quite got the business-casual memo yet.
So yes, a suit is a safe bet, but you don’t need to be quite as formal as you would in a corporate environment.
Blended with stretch fabric, the ink check suit is great for moving around the city and keeping you comfortable, too. And in our books, comfort equals confidence and confidence equals a successful interview.
Keep the rest of your outfit simple: an open-necked shirt is more relaxed than a buttoned-up shirt-and-tie combo. A navy zip polo crafted from soft merino wool looks polished and professional, while the addition of a stretch dials up the comfort.
Shoe-wise, a pair of chunky brown loafers will set this suit off nicely. Make sure to give them a good buff too.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR A VIDEO INTERVIEW
Video interviews give you the opportunity to turn down the formal even more. In fact, you can pretty much go full business-casual if you like, depending on what role you’re going for.
Here’s where your suit starts to look a little overdressed, but might still be expected to err on the side of formal. The happy medium? Tailored separates in more casual fabrics and a little bit of colour to stand out from the crowd.
Our copper Hoxton has a more relaxed feel but still looks smart, so the overall effect is pulled-together. In an on-trend copper colour, it’s also crafted from a textured cotton blend which offers a bit of interest to the look. Combined with a oatmeal tee and neutral chinos, the result is a cohesive tonal outfit that looks just as good in real life as it does on camera.
The result? Smart, but at ease. Exactly the vibe you’re going for.
WHAT TO WEAR TO MEET THE TEAM
Once you’ve secured your position, meeting the team is a great way to get a feel for the company culture and, importantly, how they dress for work.
Though smart-casual will most likely be the best bet, jeans just aren’t going to cut it – you’re going to have to up the ante a bit.
Drop the tailored jacket and try something a bit more relaxed – our off-white cord overshirt is a versatile piece that can be dressed up or down depending on the setting or situation. Wear it open with a boxy white tee for your welcome lunch, or button it up to scale up the smart for a one-to-one with your new boss.
No creative work-look is complete without a pair of trainers, but don’t just throw on any old pair. Give your interview the respect it deserves with a suede pair of chunky trainers. Still trainers, but trainers that feel a bit more elevated and are finished with a tonal rubber sole.
(New) job done.