First impressions really do count when you turn up for an interview

Stephanie Roper
Stephanie Roper

As a former pupil of Crossley Heath I vividly remember the uniform I wore day in, day out for school.

The great thing about having a uniform was that it removed the need to think about what to wear every day.

When you leave school you have to figure out your own uniform, a new way to dress every day, be it when you go to university or start to look for a job.

With 1.09 million young people (aged from 16 to 24) in the UK Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) from April to June 2013 the statistics speak for themselves: it’s tough out there in today’s job market.

It is a simple fact that your CV simply isn’t enough any more: you need to work out how to stand out from your contemporaries at interview stage and the clothes you wear can be one of those ways.

I have worked for both H&M and M&S. For my interview with M&S I wore a black suit with a white shirt underneath. For my interview with H&M I wore a layered All Saints skirt, a vest covered with sequins, a faux fur cape and cowboy boots. H&M are a much more creative, fashion forward company and I dressed appropriately. Did you know that Facebook has a strict NO SUITS policy? The Dress Code is informal and many employees wear jeans.

This is the same at Innocent (smoothies) and Google.

So how do you work out what to wear for your interview?

Here are my top tips

Do your research about the company you have applied for the job with.

Check the website to see if there are any pictures of employees. What are they wearing? Ask the person who has invited you to interview what the dress code is or phone the HR department and ask for a copy of the company Dress Code.

Can you visit the company in advance? Go and sit outside at lunchtime and watch the employees leave the building.

Watch what they are wearing: your outfit should mirror what the company employees already wear.

If in doubt it is always better to dress more smart than casual.

Above all, be YOU.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Before you have even opened your mouth to start answering questions in your interview the people who are on the interviewing panel have already made a judgement about you from how you are dressed. Creating your successful interview image is not pretending to be something you are not, neither is it a substitute for sound knowledge and skills but a carefully crafted interview outfit will create a reflection of your abilities and work with your CV to help you get the role you deserve.