Image of a ballpoint pen laying atop a page of text

Presentation dressed for an interview

Dress for Interview Success

So, you’ve impressed the employer with your cover letter and resume, and secured an interview. Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off. Preparing for the interview, however, is more involved than just researching the company and considering answers to possible interview questions. As the saying suggests, ‘Your first impression is your last impression’.

In simpler times, formal business attire was the standard expectation for an interviewee. These days, things are little different. Dress codes are generally based on the organisations culture. The way we present ourselves can tell the interviewer a lot about who you are and whether you’re going to be the right fit for that culture.

Whilst we’re taught that we should never judge a book by its cover the reality is that first impressions control a lot of the decisions we make. It’s human nature. This is just as true for you as it is for your interviewer. However, for those of us that are blind or vision impaired, how we ‘look’ may not always come as easy to us as it does for our sighted colleagues.

So, here’s a few guidelines to consider when deciding how to present at your interview.

The Basic Rule

Always be clean, and tidy. Not only should we be freshly showered, with clean, neat hair and nails, but our clothing should also be clean, pressed, and free of lose threads.

Ask for some feedback and consider who it is you’re asking. For many of us this goes without saying, but you want informed, honest opinions, so try NOT to ask people that are likely to tell you want you want to hear. Where possible, approach people in a similar industry, have been highly successful in interviews, or even a social group you’re a member of.

‘The Only Stupid Question is the One Unasked’

Ask what the dress code is. This is the simplest way to find out what is considered acceptable, and it can differ greatly from one organisation/industry to the other, or even be relevant to the specific position.

Asking about the dress code not only points you in the right direction, but it also shows that you respect the organisations standards.

Confidence is ALWAYS Key

Whilst it’s important to respect the dress code, choose something that you feel confident wearing. How we feel about our appearance can impact the level of confidence we portray; from our posture to how we speak, which can make or break our interview success.

Remember that an interview isn’t only about whether the organisation thinks that you fit their culture, you also need to decide whether their culture fits you. Be true to who you are.

Further, not unlike your resume and cover letter, your interview is another opportunity to be remembered over other candidates. You have some power to control this outcome. Consider how you can stand out, whilst maintaining congruency. It could be as simple as a small badge/pin/ribbon, the colour/print of your clothing, or even a pair of interesting socks. Don’t be afraid to make a statement about who you are. Cookie cutter employees are SO yesterday!

When in Doubt

If, after exhausting the above, you still feel unsure, choose to dress one standard above what you’re expecting. It is always smarter to be overdressed than underdressed.

Finally, if you would like to seek further assistance, please reach out to the ‘An Eye to the Future’ team. We would be more than happy to support you.