The Interview: Nail Your Style, Score the Job
Anne Liebman | Style Contributor | SheStylesCO
First impressions go a long way, especially when you’re in the running for that new job you’re wanting to land. The better you feel about the way you look, the better you’re going to perform during your interview. But, how do you know what that look is? What’s appropriate, what’s stylish, classy and respectable, what will stand out and be memorable? I’ve got you covered, broads.
Understanding your audience is the baseline for the type of style you don for your big day. How do you determine your audience? Well, what type of job are you interviewing for? What’s the ‘style’ of the company? What does its brand represent? What does the company culture feel like? I’ve outlined below some guidelines and ideas for how to dress for a few common work environments--corporate, creative, and casual.
The Corporate Gig. Think banking, finance, government, HR, and sales-type positions.
This type of job likely requires at least a business casual dress code on the daily, and even more formal dress sprinkled in on occasion; that means you will wear a suit of sorts to your interview. It doesn’t have to be a the typical business suit you buy all together. You can make up your own, just be sure you have no less than three pieces: shirt, pants, blazer.
Black and navy are always great go-to colors in this case, but remember, you want to stand out. So think about what you pair with the black or navy. Get creative with the shirt or blouse underneath your jacket. Whether a bright color or fun, flirty print, have something pop from under your suit coat--something that will get attention, but not overwhelm. Another way to make this “typical” suit ensemble more exciting is to rock some not-so-corporate looking shoes on the bottom. And then choose an ankle pant rather than a full length pant so you can show them off! Any means of adding in a bit of character, a piece of your personality, will go a long way.
The standard-colored suit not doing it for you? Be a little bold and put on a unique-colored suit set. Perhaps a lavender or fun shade of blue. You’ll be sure to stand out, yet still show you mean business. Just because the job you’re about to nail will be on the more serious side, doesn’t mean you have to dampen your style. Chances are this company is looking for a little more flare anyway, and you’re just the broad to bring that to to the table.
The Creative Gig. Think marketing, production, design, and media-type positions.
Imaginative, fun, innovative: of course you want to work at a place like this! You’re showing up to score a job wherein you’ll be at the center of a daily creative milieu. So, look it. Certainly, you want to look put together, but for this type of job, you want to do that in a much more playful and creative way.
Think “professional,” but in this case put a fun and unique spin on it. Go with the three-piece rule here, too, if you’d like. However, swap out the dress pants for a pair of dark skinny jeans. This shows you know that this is not a “formal” work environment and you have an understanding of the culture. A tucked-in button-down shirt under a stylish blazer gives off a polished, classic vibe. Throw on a pair of classic pumps and you’re ready to rock this question session!
If you want to show off a bit more of your personality, slide into some fun colored or patterned fitted cropped pants. Pair with a crisp yet simple shirt atop to balance your look and throw on some playful shoes while you’re at it. In the mood to flaunt a skirt? Pick a creative variation of a pencil skirt. Again, a bright color or pattern will grab the attention you’re looking for. Tone it back with a tucked-in tee (graphics or words help show additional personality), but also have something to throw on over--perhaps a cute bomber jacket--keeping the “three-piece guideline” in mind.
The Casual Gig. Think retail, restaurant, and hospitality-type positions.
You’re excited to land this new gig, and you know the position will by no means require an ultra-polished or a business-forward wardrobe. You still need to land this new gig, though. Show up looking stylish and pulled-together, and you’ll communicate you are the one for the job. You don’t need to go overboard, but the three-piece concept carries through here as well.
Try a chambray button-down shirt under a dark-colored sweater blazer. Dark denim on the bottom will round out this “not-trying-too-hard” look. And you don’t necessarily need a collar and buttons up top. A solid tee under a long boyfriend cardigan will also work. Be sure to tuck your shirt in to look polished and presentable. Play with some accessories to spice things up--a simple pendant necklace can add more interest and breaks up a solid color on top.
Always remember: like any situation, it is without a doubt better to overdress than to underdress. If you’re ever questioning whether something may be too casual, step it up a notch. Now, go show ‘em you are the broad for the job, and nail it!