7 things you should never wear for a job interview

Don’t be afraid to be critical, and aim to stay as close to your natural self as possible

However, many people make simple mistakes which could easily irritate, annoy or unsettle the interviewers and cost them any chance of securing what could have been the perfect job for them.

First impressions are important, and you only get once chance to make those, so it’s worth putting a little thought into what you plan to wear and taking note of the seven things mentioned below, which you should avoid at all costs.

1. Inappropriate Clothing

The question of what exactly is ‘appropriate’ is open to interpretation, so the rule of thumb should, ideally, be to dress as you would if you were actually working in the job already.

If you are not sure about the definite dress code, it is hard to go wrong with smart casual, but do bear in mind there are very few jobs where t-shirts, skin tight trousers, jeans, hot-pants or ultra-short dresses and skirts are likely to impress for the right reasons!

The same goes for plunging necklines and unbuttoned shirts with medallions, over-bright clothing and anything which doesn’t actually fit you.

2. Overbearing Perfume or Aftershave

You may have a signature scent, but wearing strong-smelling perfume or aftershave risks irritating those who simply don’t share your taste. In the worst scenario, you could even trigger an interviewer’s allergies. There are better ways to stand out than that.

3. Novelty Ties or Socks

You may think that wearing something like this reflects your outgoing personality, but wacky novelty ties or visible socks could give the impression you are immature, a risk-taker, non-conformist or an attention-seeker.

Unless those attributes are on the job description, it’s safer to stick with neutral patterns and colours.

4. Too Much Make-up or Fake Tan

Neither is a complete no-no, but you should always avoid crossing the line between using cosmetics or bronzers to enhance your natural looks and going so far you look completely fake.

The latter creates an unnecessary barrier between you and the interviewers, and it can also be an unwelcome distraction which risks your being taken less seriously than you deserve.

5. Blazers

They may be smart but so many people get the layer underneath them wrong. T-shirts are always sloppy, and vest or camisole tops on women can easily reveal too much cleavage. They are basically best avoided unless you can team with a high-buttoned shirt.

6. Dated Clothing

There’s a big difference between retro-influenced and simply old when it comes to clothes. Plain and neutral workwear from discount chains will always make you look more suitable for a job than items you have held on to for 20 years.

7. Overbearing Accessories

Subtle watches, jewellery, belts and similar can add a lot of positives to your finished look, but things like sparkling nose rings, huge earrings, enormous watches and mirrored sunglasses could easily be considered distracting and mean you look less than professional.

The safest way to approach an interview is to consider all aspects of the way you dress and look. Don’t be afraid to be critical, and aim to stay as close to your natural self as possible.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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