4. Dress well

For those who select their work clothes on the principle that ‘it’ll do for work’, take a long, hard look in the mirror and then at your wardrobe while getting your head around the fact that 70% of the total impact you make is though your physical appearance.

What to wear for job interview

Whether you love them or hate them, Trinny and Susannah have a point. You can double or treble your chances by wearing the right thing for job interview. You can write them off completely by wearing something that is considered weird, unsuitable or outlandish by the hiring manager.

Your interview clothes have a job to do, and that’s to help you get this job. They should be selected very carefully, and with the audience in mind.

If the organisation has a relaxed, informal environment, then a suit is not strictly necessary for job interview – but it will never make the wrong impression.

Get the details right

A great outfit can be spoiled by the details, so make sure you focus on the total impression you give.

Make sure that trouser legs are long enough. For both ladies and gents, they should sit on your shoe at the front and almost touch the ground at the back. Waistbands should be comfortable, not tight around the middle.

Steer well clear of off-piste colours like purple, red, pink or tan for interview suits, unless you are deliberately trying to make a bold character statement.

No trouser cuffs if you have short legs; no front pleats or tapered legs if you have big hips; no high necklines or double-breasted jackets if you have a big chest or bust; no long jackets if you are vertically challenged.

If you don’t know which colours and styles actually suit you (as opposed to which colours and styles you like – which is (unfortunately) not the same thing at all), then get hold of Trinny and Susannah’s What You Wear can Change Your Life, which is excellent.

It’s both exciting and a relief when you suddenly realise that colour alone can revolutionise how you come across in terms of age, health, energy and style. For shopping purposes, raid B&Q for paint-mix strips of ‘your’ colours, which are easy to keep in a wallet, bag or pocket when you go shopping.

Whatever your colours, wear something relatively bright somewhere in your outfit – perhaps just a tie or a piece of feature jewellery – so you don’t fade into the background. Unless you are very uncomfortable doing so, accessorise a little (necklace, earrings, possibly belt, possibly bracelet, watch) to add a little authority to your look. Don’t overdo the bling.


Make sure your footwear goes with your outfit. Gentlemen should only wear black shoes with black, grey or navy suits. Brown shoes, as well as brown suits, should be re-thought, and suede is never a good option for an interview. Gentlemen with a normally funky personal style can look extremely uncomfortable in brogues or ‘straight’ shoes. Consider smart, well-polished ankle boots as an alternative.

Ladies who do not have a very feminine style should work especially hard at getting footwear right. Overly clumpy boots may inadvertently suggest something about your personality. Feminine shoes with heels are not necessary unless you would normally wear them: aim for footwear that fits in with the rest of your outfit.

Call us old fashioned, but we think that toes should never be seen at something as formal as an interview, and whatever shoes you do wear, polish them!

Make-up for job interview – (if you don’t usually wear make-up, keep reading)

Lady candidates should put on a little make up if it’s remotely in your style to do so, even if it’s just a bit of powder and blush to give your face energy and hide any signs of tiredness.

Light-reflecting moisturiser is a neat cheat if you don’t have a feminine image, giving you just a bit of healthy glow or making you look less tired. But don’t put it on your nose, which will be shiny enough.

If you are not a regular make-up wearer but want your eyes to come alive, choose a pale, soft gold as a safe choice.

If you are a regular make-up wearer, remember that this is a job interview and not a night out – one coat of mascara is enough!

Do not wear perfume or cologne. It’s amazing how many people are sensitive to them, and you don’t want the interviewer to sneeze all the way through your precious job interview.


Whether you are a male or female candidate, your hair should be freshly washed, and recently cut for a job interview. If it’s some time since you reviewed your hair style, consider whether your current style adds what you’d like to your personal image. If it doesn’t, consult with friends about alternative styles, flick through magazines for style ideas, and see a professional for a consultation and re-style. A change in hair style can often take years off your look.

If you are going grey, consider whether grey adds to the impression you want to make (it may well do). If it doesn’t, consider some professionally-applied colour, or take a stylist’s advice on home colouring (not all home dyes cover grey). Whatever you do, do not experiment with colour in the 48 hours before your interview!