Imagine the scenario: in front of you are two perfectly capable candidates. Both of them are more than qualified for the role, have years of experience between them, and are personable, fun, and dependable.

However, while one has come dressed to impress in a smart, freshly pressed suit, the other is wearing ripped jeans, trainers, and a faded T-shirt. Which one do you think you’d be more likely to hire for a role that required attention to detail, excellent presentational skills, and meeting clients on a daily basis? Introducing the importance of choosing the right outfit for your next job interview…

The clothes maketh the interviewee

Congratulations on your job interview! The fact that you’ve qualified for a meeting with the boss means that your search for a job is already taking a step in a positive direction, although now is the most crucial time of all. Taking the time to pick the right outfit, groom yourself, and accessorise with a few statement pieces will demonstrate to any interviewer that you are serious about the job for which you’ve applied, and ready to work hard. While we’d all like to imagine a world in which appearance counts for nothing, what you’ve chosen to wear at a job interview, or on your first day at a new placement, really can create an incredible, or damning, impression of the type of person you are. So, which will it be?

Let’s start with the basics: men and women – it is imperative to be comfortable in your interview attire. After all, you may be there some time, and there’s nothing worse than showing up in an outfit that won’t stand up to the heat, or the pressure, if you’re really feeling it. Besides, comfortable clothing can make all the difference to your confidence, and there’s something rather tempting about an interviewee who seems comfortable in his or her own skin, and confident in their answers.

Thinking of wearing black? While black can be classy and forgiving, on both men and women, it can also be incredibly forgettable; try adding a splash of colour to your smart attire to make your presentation truly memorable. Taking your outfit back to basics, ensure that you have three key items, depending on whether you’re a man or woman; a shirt or blouse, a skirt or pair of trousers, and a light jacket or blazer. Ensure these items are clean and freshly pressed, preferably made of material that won’t bunch or crease while you’re waiting, and take a moment to assess your appearance before you leave the house – would YOU hire you? Additionally, think about the details; for example, shoes are often overlooked, but will be the last thing to stick in a potential employer’s mind if they’re giving you a quick once-over. Ensure they have been chosen to match your outfit, are clean and scuff-free and, ladies, have a heel of a sensible height.

Now all of this advice may be sending you into something of a panic. What if you don’t have anything appropriate in your wardrobe? Luckily, these days there are some absolutely stunning items of business wear available online and, if you’re savvy and choose a capsule wardrobe, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use items again and again.

Not sure where to look? Ladies, there are some great examples of cheap women’s clothing on, while men have similarly stylish options to choose from. Accessories, such as tasteful jewellery, scarves for women, cravats for men, and belts, which can also be sourced online, are a great way to dress up your interview attire and add a little individuality.

Office attire: hired, or fired?

You’d think it would be impossible to get office and interview attire wrong, but you would be wrong. Ill-fitting, creased, dirty, or downright inappropriate clothing can say a lot about the person wearing the garment and may make a potential employer run for the hills. When choosing that all-important outfit be sure to sell yourself, rather than advertising the reasons you may be wrong for the job, and avoid a sinful fashion faux pas such as wearing too much make up (men, this could apply to you too!), daring to bare far too much flesh, or choosing clothes that fail to flatter your figure at all. Avoid these pitfalls and you’ll go far, although it always pays to give yourself a final check before leaving the house.

Most importantly of all, be yourself, dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable and confident, and smile; you are, after all, never fully dressed without a smile. Good luck!