Here are words I never thought I’d write – I’m here to tell you about fashion. There. I said it. Wow, it feels odd to say that but yes, fashion. From keeping up with the latest trends at all costs, to passionate arguments between girls over ‘who wore it best’. Fashion does indeed bring out the very best and worst in us.
New York has always ranked alongside London, Milan and Paris as a fashion capital of the world. Going by my over six months living and working in New York so far, that is definitely true. You come across anything and everything here. The high rollers with their bespoke suits. The fashionistas wearing what can only be described as a bunch of stuff. In a city of such culture and diversity, people use clothes as a way to stand out from the crowd.
Indeed, standing out from the crowd is what one hopes for in job interviews. However, before any interview begins, you are judged. Whether your handshake is firm. Whether you maintain eye contact. What your posture is like. Most importantly, your attire is judged. In such a competitive city, how you dress can actually have a huge impact on your chances of getting the job.
I’ve come across my fair share of style in New York so far. I’ve also been a primary witness to serious crimes against fashion. I’d like to think I’m a fairly put together person when it comes to clothes. Therefore, I can take glee in offering you some interview fashion dos and don’ts. You can thank me later.
DO: RESEARCH THE COMPANY’S DRESS CODE
Planning ahead can make a huge difference to the first impression interviewers get. Look up the company online. Check their social media. Anything that tells you how people at that company dress. Many companies may have a ‘casual Friday’ rule; however, do not treat an interview like that. If you turn up to an interview in a t-shirt, ripped jeans and runners, you’re basically telling them that you don’t want the job.
Suits are standard practice for interviews. Since I’m incredibly fashionable, I planned my suit down to a tee ahead of my most recent interview with Sprinklr. Below is a picture of this very suit from the day of the UCC Commerce Ball in November 2015. Because I didn’t want to look like a lecturer, I wore a navy blue tie instead of the bow tie. Also, I lost my pocket square that very night (boo hoo).
A nice pair of brown brogues completed the outfit. It’s just so tough being fashionable eh?
DON’T: WEAR ILL-FITTING OR REVEALING CLOTHING
I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Perhaps there is some kind of weird trend for ripped shirts at present, but that trend doesn’t belong in a job interview.
Ill-fitting clothing is probably one of my pet hates. There really isn’t any way to defend not knowing your sizes. The suit shouldn’t wear you, you should wear the suit. Look at this poor chap, for example. Rumour has it that he’s still looking for a job.
DO: IRON YOUR SHIRT
You’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t do this. It’s crazy. And a bit annoying. Wrinkles on a face may be seen as engraved smiles, but a wrinkled shirt is a sign of pure laziness.
Especially on recent warm days, I’ve seen countless people around New York wearing shirts that appear to have been grabbed straight from a drawer. A well-pressed, pristine white shirt can go a long way to making great first impressions.
DON’T: GET A FACE TATTOO LIKE MIKE TYSON BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW
I think this is definitely self-explanatory.
DO: EASE UP ON THE AFTERSHAVE
You recently purchased the new Hugo Boss aftershave. It smells divine. You smell divine. The ladies love it. You’re delighted. You can’t help but wear a generous amount everywhere you go. However, one man’s divine is another man’s allergy.
Of course, you should maintain your normal routine of showering, shaving, moisturising (?) and spraying deodorant. However, you don’t want to overwhelm an interviewer with the power of your scent. You want to be remembered fondly, not for inducing coughing fits. Don’t be Brian Fantana.
DON’T: MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT
Okay. I get it. You got this new ‘statement’ jacket at a thrift shop recently and you just have to wear it. Or one of your friends jokingly advised you to step outside your comfort zone and purchase a tartan suit. And you took him seriously.
I’m sure there’s a time and a place for all pieces of clothing, the weird and the wonderful. However, an interview is not the place to test drive your new fashion risk. Playing it safe can be boring, but in an interview, conservatism is key. As an interviewer, imagine how you’d react if you saw Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber walk into the room. Possibly not favourably.
At the end of the day, being yourself is the biggest part of a successful interview in New York. Unless your true self is a twat.
If you feel uneasy about your attire, interviewers will sense the nerves. You have to be confident in your appearance, and in your ability to blow the interviewers away.
New York is incredibly competitive. If one person fails, the next person will be ready to step in. It’s cutthroat. Intense. Challenging. But it’s up to you to prepare for every interview. A well-dressed man exudes confidence. Confidence in one’s person is reassuring for interviewers.
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but who are they kidding? We’re all very superficial sure. Keep up your appearance and you’ll be graand (hopefully).