You have been invited to an interview, you’ve researched the company and have prepared some great answers. You’re feeling confident and are ready to go but what do you wear?
Ok, so dressing well is not going to guarantee you that placement however, first impressions are extremely important and if you are well presented, you are sending the right messages to the employer without even opening your mouth.
Not only will dressing well impress the company manager but if you feel good about yourself it will boost your confidence, which will shine through in your interview.
I spoke to a number of second year students who have recently nailed their placement interview however, I didn’t want to know about their perfectly prepared answers but whether they had opted for a tie or no tie!
What are you wearing?
Responses came from a number of students who had interviews at a range of different companies, from MMU Sport to STA Travel. Here’s what they said…
Men- a plain dark suit, white shirt and tie with smart shoes.
‘I wore a dark grey suit, black smart shoes, dark red tie, white shirt.’
‘Navy matching suit with black suede shoes and a grey tie (no bag).’
REMEMBER- Make sure your clothes are clean, ironed and your shoes are polished.
TOP TIP- ‘on a student budget I found it’s still easy to get a decent suit, as long as you really do know your sizes and are prepared to trust it’s going to be the size it says.’
Women- smart trousers or skirts, a blouse or plain top, flat shoes or ankle boots and a neutral handbag.
‘A white, long sleeve ribbed polo neck top with the sleeves slightly rolled up so that my watch was visible. Black high waist tapered trousers with an attached d-ring belt. Black, 5-inch block heel leather ankle boots. A grey, belted wool coat. A black, leather structured tote bag.’
‘Skinny black tailored trousers, a black long-sleeved casual top (stretchy material), a long camel sleeveless jacket, and dark-brown leather heeled ankle boots, with a large black tote bag.’
REMEMBER- Make sure your shoes are comfortable and you can walk. You might be taken on a tour of the building and you don’t want to look like Bambi on ice.
TOP TIP- If wearing black jeans for the more casual look, make sure they aren’t ripped (it may be trendy but it’s not necessarily smart).
Where to buy and how much to spend?
You can spend as much or as little as you want on your outfit as most students wore items they already had in their wardrobe. Most outfits were purchased from high street shops and cost between £40 – £80 in. Men tend to spend a little bit more if buying a suit (average around £100 all in all).
The high street was the place to source those essential pieces. Students highlighted a range of shops, some of which are listed below:
H&M, Tesco, Primark, Topshop, ASOS, New Look, Next, River Island, Kurt Geiger.
TOP TIP- If you have a couple of interviews coming up, it will be beneficial to invest in a staple suit/ dress that you are likely to get some wear out of.
‘The full suit set from Next was bought for the four interviews I attended, so this justified the cost, and the fact that it can be kept and used again in the future.’
REMEMBER- If you get the job, you will also be able to wear the outfit whilst you’re at work.
If you can’t get hold of a brand new outfit, room 4.39 in the Business School has a rail of second hand business wear that you are free to take for interview, including; shirts, full suits, trousers, dresses and ties. Alternatively, if you no longer need your business wear, drop in your unwanted items to help another student out!
What does smart/ casual even mean?
Students aren’t usually asked to dress is a specific way but always opt for the smarter look unless stated otherwise. The main employer to highlight their dress code was NIKE who specified a ‘casual dress code with no competitor brands.’
Women- Black jeans, long sleeved top or blouse, flat pumps or branded trainers (if specified).
‘Black jeans, a grey long sleeved peplum top, a grey pair of Nike Air Force Ones, a large purple/nude handbag big enough to hold A4 documents, and a smart cream/beige thigh length mac or trench coat.’
Men- Black jeans, casual shirt or jumper, smart shoes or branded trainers (if specified).
‘Black skinny jeans with brown leather shoes, a red checked shirt with a black jumper over the top.’
REMEMBER- Looking the part can make you feel great.
‘I found the new suit feel and the new shirt to be quite motivational for me.’
The finer details
When it comes to dressing for an interview, the devil really is in the detail. Prepare your outfit the night before the big day so you don’t have a last minute panic. Make sure you follow the below pointers to ensure you’re looking and feeling great!
- Wash and iron your clothes.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Polish your shoes.
- Smart hair (pinned back if it’s likely to distract you).
- Neaten up any facial hair.
- Your bag and coat are just as important as the rest of your outfit so choose wisely.
A smile is the best accessory
If you are feeling nervous about an interview, it may seem strange to smile. However, a smile will instantly help the interviewer warm to you and make a tense room calm. It shows that you are enthusiastic about the job and are interested in what the interviewer has to say. So if all else fails, keep smiling!