Interview lined up and nothing to wear? Try these tips to make the best possible first impression

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A woman trying on a white dress for an interview while looking in the mirror.

In our fifteen years as Tiger Recruitment, we’ve seen it all when it comes to interview wear. Sometimes, candidates attend interviews without having given two minutes’ thought to what they’re going to wear (and it shows), while others have turned up at the office appearing, for all intents and purposes, to be heading off to Ascot.

The obvious tips include avoiding low-cut tops or short skirts of course, but what else should you be looking to do if you’ve successfully won a meeting with a prospective employer?

It goes without saying that first impressions count. When it comes to interviews, they count BIG time. And while appearances shouldn’t play a part in your successful placement, sadly they often do, along with body language and interviewing style. Before you’ve even uttered a word we’d bet that your interviewers will have sized you up in the first five seconds of meeting you, so we’d encourage you to make that impression a positive one. If it’s not, it will be decidedly tougher to turn things around for the remainder of the meeting.

So as you start to prepare for your interview, what exactly should you be looking out for when perusing the wardrobe? How will you make that all important first impression?

As a rule of thumb, always aim to dress at least one level up from what you understand to be the business’ dress code. These days, many businesses – particularly within the creative sector or start-ups – are more casual but even so, avoid the ripped jeans and bandeau tops. At minimum, smart jeans and a long sleeved shirt are acceptable, but if in doubt wear a plain suit (both men and women).

Some other details we’d advise on include:


Hoodies, beanies and caps are a no-go zone. If you’re partial to a hat, indulge in a smart one, but take it off for the meeting.

Get the right fit

Avoid anything too tight, too loose or ill-fitting.

Wacky accessories

(This applies to ties too). Keep them conservative, minimal and in neutral colours if possible. You want the interviewer to pay more attention to what you’re saying rather than be distracted by the enormous dangling earrings you’re wearing.

Subtle makeup

Again, keep the application minimal and conservative. Thick eyeliners, brightly coloured eye shadows and fluro lipstick are a no-go.

Personal hygiene

If you’re prone to heavy perspiration, just keep a deodorant handy and re-apply before you go into the meeting. Sometimes nervousness causes clammy hands too, so ensure you take precautions before shaking hands! Be careful not to overdo it with the perfume though.

Gentlemen, trim those beards and moustaches. Keep them well maintained.

Piercings and tattoos

If you have them, be sensible and keep them subtle. Consider wearing studs for example and try to cover any body art where possible.

Overall, the best advice we can give as an overarching rule is to dress conservatively. Play it safe with your dress, and allow them to be wowed by your skill, enthusiasm and character. If you need some extra help, we also offer interview training! Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you secure your next dream role.

Author Tiger Contributor Tiger Recruitment Team

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