What to wear to a business interview

The idea of landing an interview for a business internship can have you feeling nervous and worried. First impressions are important and long-lasting. Your interview performance will have a bearing on whether you ace it or totally fail.

The first principles

Unless you are told different, you should always assume that your interviewer will expect you to wear smart business attire. You can disregard this rule if you are going for employment at a themed restaurant, creative agency or a hipster-led start-up.

Men

Professional

Men need to dress up for an interview in a suit. If you have a suitable blazer, you can swap this for the suit jacket. The suit pants, belt, tie and dress shoes are vital, however. It is important to avoid bright colours. A corporate colour palette is white, navy, black, grey and blue. The best internships in Australia will accept interns who have dressed appropriately. 

Casual

When wearing casual clothing, you want to get rid of the suit jacket and pants and go for something like slacks or chinos. You should still go with a button-down shirt with a nice tie and ensure you tuck the shirt in. Dress shoes are still best for both professional and casual. You still need to appear presentable enough to attend a professional meeting.

Women

Professional

Women need to wear comfortable, office heels or professional flats with slacks or a pencil skirt that doesn’t go above the knee. A suit jacket is preferred with a nice button-down shirt underneath. A corporate dress with a jacket would also pass. You want to steer clear from any bright colours or patterns. Same as the men, the business colours are black, white, grey, navy and blue. If you want to wear an accent piece, then you are best off going for an earth tone. Buy items that are of the highest quality that you are able to afford and ensure they are well maintained.

Casual

Casual wear is like something you would buy at Portmans. Look for a blouse with pants or a skirt to match or a conservative dress. Dress shoes are appropriate for this. With casual wear, you can add more colour tones like earthy tones and reds or mustards.

Your fragrance

You will want to avoid strong fragrances or just apply a very discreet amount of your fragrance. You don’t want to give employers any reason to doubt your potential to be hired. 

If you are in doubt on what is best to wear then the best thing to do is go to your interview overdressed. It is better to be the best-looking person in the room than the sloppiest and most underdressed. Always dress up instead of down when you are unsure.

Another tip to remember is that when you are working and wearing your outfit, you still need to feel like you. Are the pants too tight? Does the skirt ride up? Is the shirt choking you when you sit down? Do a dress rehearsal first before your interview. You cannot be confident if you are uncomfortable. You will end up irritating the interviewer if you are constantly standing up to adjust your shirt or struggling to walk due to the blisters appearing on your feet from the tight shoes. This is the time when you need to prioritise being comfortable so you can get through the interview successfully. Available internships are invaluable so you should aim to dress to impress. In doing so, you will have a competitive advantage over others and will be more likely to succeed. 

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