It’s hard enough to know what you’re wearing tomorrow, let alone to your family dinner on Thursday or best friend’s birthday on Friday… Let alone what to wear to an interview!
What you wear to an interview will make an impression on your interviewer, and you definitely want it to be a positive one. Additionally, if you look the part – professional, capable, well-groomed – you’ll also feel the part. A great interview outfit is a confidence-booster, essential for a successful interview.
Here are our top tips to choose the best outfit for your next interview, without breaking the bank.
Research the industry and company
Start by researching the clothing worn by employees in the industry you’re applying to. You might already have something similar in your wardrobe.
If you’re interviewing somewhere where the employees wear uniforms (a blessing in disguise… it will be easy to get ready for work every day!) the best option is to wear something plain but smart, for example black pants (not jeans) and a long-sleeved collared white shirt.
If the employees wear business casual (for example suit pants and shirts for the men and skirts/pants and blouses for the women) it’s ok to follow their lead for your interview. Just make sure your choices are clean, neat and ironed.
Clothing to avoid includes jeans and denim of any kind, shorts, t-shirts and singlets, anything that crumples easily, and anything that’s ripped or frayed.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on new clothes
You don’t need to head to the shops and spend a lot on a brand new outfit. Most people won’t know where you got your outfit from – you aren’t a walking brand or price tag. As long as you appear neat, professional and comfortable in yourself you’re good to go.
Most people have plain black pants or a skirt and a white, long-sleeved collared shirt. As long as they are in a good state (no rips, fraying, pilling) they can form the basis of your outfit. Keep in mind that clothes that fit you well can give the appearance of being expensive and tailored. If you don’t have anything like this, ask to borrow from similar-sized friends and family members, or head to Kmart or Big W to get them at a reasonable price.
If you need to dress up your black/white combo, head to a second-hand store/charity shop and seek out a structured jacket/blazer in a neutral tone – think black, slate grey or navy.
For shoes, Kmart/Big W and similar stores sell lots of suitable options for very reasonable prices.
Pre-interview clothing prep
Ensure that every piece of your outfit is clean and ironed well ahead of time; nothing makes you look more disorganised and flustered than a rumpled shirt. Shoes should be clean and polished. Choose bags, scarves, jewellery, belts etc ahead of time too, but don’t overdo the accessories – less is more.
As for you, you should be freshly showered (and shaved if required), with clean, neat hair and nails. Definitely wear deodorant but if wearing perfume or aftershave, again, less is more.
Remember it’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed. Still in doubt? Check out some blogs for inspiration.
Transition to Work and Thread Together
MTC Australia’s Transition to Work Program assists young people on their journey to employment, including sourcing wardrobe options for the big interview day and beyond.
We’ve partnered with Thread Together to provide new clothing and shoes to Transition to Work participants. Located at MTC Parramatta, the ‘Thread Wardrobe Room’ is set up like a shop for young people to pick interview clothes suited to both their style and the job they’re applying for.
Need help finding a job? Learn more about the Transition to Work program.