What to wear for a graduate interview
Confused about what to wear for an interview? As graduate recruiters, we get asked every day the question of what a graduate candidate should wear for an interview. First impressions are everything. We’ve all heard it a million times. Despite having really strong work experience or how well you answer interview questions never underestimate the importance of a put-together interview outfit. A crucial part of the interview preparation process is dressing for success and there are several things to take into consideration when choosing your interview outfit. Dressing for a graduate interview follows the same prep rules as the actual interview. You’ll need to research your outfit, be able to project confidence wearing it, have adaptable attire and pay close attention to the details.
Research & Understanding
Check out the company’s Instagram, Facebook page or about us on their website to see how they portray themselves. Review what will your interviewers be wearing- It’s a reflection of the company’s culture and so wearing something like jeans and shirt to a suit and tie place will make your feel you out of place and signal to the interviewers that you might not be a good fit for the company’s culture. On the other hand, although overdressing might be great for special events, dressing up too much for a more casual interview can make you seem unapproachable so make sure your attire aligns with the place. Your knowledge of the organization shows through your attire and reflects your understanding of the organization and whether you fit.
Comfort & Confidence
Wear something you feel comfortable in- something that is tried and true is essential. Naturally, graduates after a few years of sweat shirts and casual wear can feel the need to go out and buy a few items for upcoming interviews- the benefits of wearing something you already have tested out is that you know it works, know how it fits and are aware whether the item on you feel restrictive or pulls strangely when you sit down. These elements play a role in your comfort and how you come across.
Dress for the weather but appropriately. A sundress or shorts might sound like the only thing to wear in 30-degree heat regardless of having an interview or meeting but keeping it professional and catering to the climate shows your adaptable and that know how to work within the parameters life throws at you.
Attention to Detail
Details such as scuffed shoes or a fraying coat isn’t cohesive with the rest of your polished interview outfit. It is important that everything remains cohesive and sets the same tone as the rest of your ensemble. Other details such as hair and grooming are just as essential and just one of the details interviewers take in subconsciously upon first impression.
Personality & Professionalism
You don’t want your interview outfit to be too distracting- but it is also important to express your personality through your dress especially if you’re going into a more creative role. Balancing a bit of personality with your professional interview outfit can indicate your ability to have fun in your role while taking the job very seriously and getting things done.
Graduate Interview Outfit by Sector
Finance/ Business Sector
Dress Code: Business Formal
Finance and business attire has pretty much remained the same throughout the years. A suit is often appropriate with a crisp button-down shirt and polished brogues. It’s often good to err on the side of formal and add a tie for men.
Operations/ HR/ Admin Sector
Dress Code: Business casual
Operational roles are often more people-centric and although professionalism is key, there is a level of informality compared to the finance and business sectors. For operational interviews, a pair of chinos or trousers, paired with a smart looking shirt or blouse, a tailored blazer and brogues or loafers comes off as approachable but professional
Dress Code: Smart casual
Increasingly, tech startups are becoming more and more casual and gone are the days of suit and ties for many companies. Chinos or trousers paired with collared shirts or blouses and a smart pullover or blazer are key component to winning over your interviewer within the tech sector.
Creative/Media/ Design Sector
Dress Code: Smart casual
Personality is key for creative roles and showing your creativity is vital to portray yourself as a creative professional. The creative dress code is similar in staples to that of the tech sector but with a creative spin. Note not to make the outfit too distracting though to make it detract from the overall interview. Your interview outfit in general should set a positive first impression and having a great outfit prepared prior to the interview is one less thing to worry about so you can ace the actual interview!