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Your appearance may not make or break your job interview, but it can certainly make things a lot easier for you if you get it right. You must think carefully about the appropriate appearance for different situations, as a standard dress code does not apply across all industries.
How you appear is essentially the first impression you will make on the person who will interview you. If your appearance is appropriate and well put together, you instantly gain credibility as someone who cares about making a good impression, and who has respect for the company and the interview process. If it is not, you now have extra ground to make up with the interviewer.
A survey of employers carried out by the National Association of Colleges and Employers looked at various external attributes in interviewees, and how much these would influence a hiring employer. The results indicated that the state of an interviewee’s grooming would have the strongest influence on the employer’s attitude, with 73 percent of respondents saying it would have a strong influence. This means it’s worth getting a good haircut and manicure before your interview, brushing your teeth and polishing your shoes to ensure that your appearance is clean and pleasant.
If the job itself is one that requires you to meet with clients, you need to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you can represent the company appropriately. In this situation it’s even more crucial that you meet the company’s expectations on appearance, as this will be seen as one element of your aptitude for the position.
Some industries may have a more casual dress code, and it may not be appropriate to come to the interview in a conservative, formal suit. If you have contacts at the company, make inquiries about expectations and culture at the company and try to fit with the tone. If you don’t have any personal contacts, it’s acceptable to call the human resources department and ask what the appropriate interview dress code might be. But remember, it’s always safer to err on the side of being too formal than not formal enough.