career and job

Selasa, 17 Agustus 2010

Interview In Style

by Karen Robinovitz

You have one time to make a first impression. So what you wear to your job interview is vital.

"It's critical that you dress appropriately, as it lets companies know that you respect their culture, have done your homework, and care about the overall impression you make," says Deborah Lloyd, Executive Vice President of Design and Product Development for Banana Republic.

But what should you wear? It should come as no surprise that a recent Yahoo! HotJobs poll shows that 82% of workplaces are casual, making it tricky to figure out what to choose - a suit or jeans, pants and a button-down?

Because the rules about how to dress in the workplace have changed, people spend a lot of time thinking about dressing for an interview. In fact another Yahoo! HotJobs poll indicates that consumers spend more time choosing an outfit than they do researching their potential employer. And 30% admit to shopping before the big day.

So before you make a dent in your bank account, here are some things to keep in mind.


While different industries call for different work attire, there is one basic tenet that all experts swear by: better to overdress than underdress. Dress according to the culture and style of the company that you're interviewing with.

Warren Davis, Director of Recruiting and Employment for the RadioShack Corporation, believes "attention to detail [with what you wear] at the very least suggests that you want to leave a favorable impression."

The key is to appear pulled together, regardless of where you interview, be it a bank or a sporting goods store. "While it's a safe bet to wear a suit more often than not, there are ways to wear one and dress it down or up, depending on where you're interviewing," says Rosemary Feitelberg, the Market Editor of Women's Wear Daily.

"In a place where the environment is casual, you may stand out in a bad way in a formal pinstripe suit, so try a jacket and pants that are not the same material, maybe cotton so it's not so dressed up," she offers. "But for a corporate environment, you need to pull out all the stops. A casual suit would not fit in." If you're unsure of what to wear, ask Human Resources. They will happily help.

Here are some strategies to dress for interview success for three different work environments.


While not all office environments have a buttoned-up dress code, it's still important to look professional. It's easy to get away with modern yet timeless options when interviewing at a casual-culture company (think education, retail, hospitality, and certain dot-coms).

Overdressing as if you're going to a formal affair would make you stand out in a negative way. There's a fine line between overdressing and appropriate dressing, but it's one that is easily walked. The point is to demonstrate that you can fit in.

For example, a casual jacket or blazer with trousers is a smart option for men and women. Women could also choose a knee-length (or longer) skirt with a blouse. Put a personal style stamp on the outfit with accessories, but never over-accessorize, as it will be distracting. Men can turn a suit into something more relaxed, Dan Peres, Editor in Chief of Details magazine suggests. "Your tie doesn't have to be knotted to the top."

Maria Reiling, eBay's Director of Fashion suggests, "Black leather oxfords for men, black pumps for women, and remove flashy necklaces or anklets."

Unless you're interviewing for a position at a trendy restaurant or club in a fashion-forward city like New York, avoid ripped denim jeans at all costs. It is never appropriate, even if you pair it with a sophisticated top.

Truth be told, "even casual companies like to see people convey a sense of respect for the opportunity to interview. If you really can't see yourself in a suit or are sure it would be too much for your interview, I still recommend a pair of well-pressed and well-fit slacks and a button-down shirt," Reiling advises.

Creative industries - like entertainment, publishing, public relations, special events planning, and music - are known for encouraging employees to express themselves through style and fashion. But interviewing for a job in one of these industries is another story.

If a suit is required, men should wear a more sleek version with flat-front pants. Women can go the suit route or take cues from Jackie O. with a perfect shift dress, tights, and round-toe pumps. The trick is to take a traditional look but add your own style to it.

Jane Buckingham, President of The Intelligence Group and author of "Modern Girls Guide to Life," suggests you add a fresh twist in the way you accessorize.

"Highlight your personal style with cool jewelry, really fabulous shoes, or a knock-out handbag. It will make you look stylish - and help you stand out," says Buckingham.

Peres' ideas for making an outfit yours include "getting a tie that reflects your personality, but not one that is so wild that it's distracting. And try wearing a dark shade of green or a light gray if you really want to be different but still professional."

Men can get inventive, too. Try dressing up jeans with a jacket or a cashmere V-neck sweater and a shirt. Peres' also suggests a dark suit and shirt, worn without a tie. But he warns, "A navy suit and white shirt without a tie just looks unfinished."


If you are a stockbroker, banker, advertising executive, or high-ranking businessperson, then you have to dress for it.

"If you dress the part, you instill confidence, and establish yourself as a strong candidate for the job," says Lloyd.

Women can jazz things up with a jacket and skinny-leg pants or a subtle ruffle-trimmed skirt. "Just ask yourself, would Condoleezza Rice wear this? If so, it's a good bet. She is the epitome of professional chic," Buckingham notes.

Just don't get seduced by price tags - stylish professionalism does not have to mean breaking the bank. "It doesn't need to be an expensive brand name," Peres says. "But it should fit well, [be] pressed, be hemmed right, and made of material that isn't too flimsy."

Peres' suggests that men invest in one quality suit that will last a lifetime. Suits evoke the sense of class, polish, and refinement that is necessary for a corporate job, but there's nothing wrong with "making it yours and going with a modern style," says Buckingham.

At the end of it all, the time and effort you take when deciding what to wear will be worth it when you hear, "You're hired!"

Job Info , Jobs Sources , Career Opportunity

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