Recruiting Tip: Interview Style

Throughout the years of recruiting, I’ve seen the “style” become more and more casual.  When interviewing for a job you have make sure you “look” the part of the job you are applying for.

It should go without saying that the interview is the first and only chance you’ll get to make a good impression. You may have all the qualifications in the world, but turn up looking scruffy and you’ll be headed for the exit instead of your new manager’s office. 

Psychologists estimate that just 7% of the impression you make at interview will be based on what you say. The rest will depend on how you said it and whether you looked like a convincing candidate. Dress for the job you aspire to and people will picture you in the role.

Keep it simple

In the service industry, it’s likely you’ll be wearing some sort of uniform, so it stands to reason that, even if you’re not expected to turn up to the interview in a suit, you should still dress smartly and professionally in something appropriate for the role.

But use your head: even if you’re going for a job as a chef, you’re still going to look a bit daft turning up in your whites — at least for the non-cooking stage.

Serious style

When choosing the colour of your outfit, aim for something clean and classic.

Go for one or two colours you would generally find in a uniform, e.g. black, navy or grey for your trousers or skirt with a white shirt or blouse. Avoid loud colours like orange or purple: you don’t want to sear your interviewer’s retinas with your violently-clashing colour scheme.

The fashion advice team at John Lewis Oxford Street says it’s wise to take a low key approach to looking ‘individual’ at work.

Their style guide for jobseekers advises candidates simply to add one interesting accessory (a brooch for women, for example, or a bright tie for men) to well-tailored clothes if they want to stand out from the crowd.

But remember:

Guys: while you might be remembered for wearing a crazy, unforgettable tie, it’s likely to be for the wrong reason. If you’re wearing a tie, then take it back to basics with one colour. Impress, don’t distress!

Girls: don’t go overboard by wearing your favourite party jewellery. Remember, in any job, you will be asked to keep your jewellery understated and to a minimum, so try to mimic this at interview.

Some other things to avoid:

  • Distinctive branding
  • Emblems and logos
  • Crazy patterns and bold stripes
  • Checks and tartans and florals
  • Cartoon imagery and jokey socks

And here are some more top tips from the image experts:

For the girls…

It pays to make-up: women who wear subtle makeup earn 23% more than women who go without, according to the Hamermesh-Biddle project. Makeup emphasizes eyes and mouth (the primary means of communication), but beware to avoid the rock chick look.

Don’t reveal flesh: according to the Azziz Corporation, 88% of people feel that it’s unacceptable to display a bare midriff in the workplace, making it less acceptable than visible tattoos (77%), body piercings (69%) and low-cut tops (64%).

Suits you: women have so many choices that they often shy away from the more formal suit. Suits can make a statement while remaining feminine.

For the guys…

Beard blunders: facial hair is not taboo anymore. One in three bosses now views stubble as acceptable in business, says Azziz. But concealing lips and mouth is still a barrier to communication. If you’re going for beard or stubble, you’ll need to spend more, not less, time on grooming.

Don’t be a schoolboy: badly-fitting clothes generally look like hand-me-downs.

And all the rest: don’t think you can get away with a stain on your tie, lunch in your teeth or smelling of cigarettes.

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  • Margo was fantastic!

    Throughout the process, she was able to get and keep me prepared and ready to answer any questions or curveballs that came my way.  I was better prepared during this interview process than I have ever been before.  A normally stressful process was made less so thanks to Margo.  She was the one that initially brought the opportunity to my attention and was there every step of the way to ensure I was successful.
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    Adam Saia
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    At first when I received the email I was uncertain that this would work. Upon talking to Michelle I discovered that not only was she really nice, but also quite resourceful. I started the process on a Tuesday and literally one week later I was offered a job on the spot, thanks to all of her assistance. We talked and I was able to be open with her.  She was able to put me in the mindset of my now area manager to go over what to say and do, and what to leave out during the interview. We went over resumes and she showed me how to improve mine so that I stood out. Overall if I ever had to do this again I would gladly work with Michelle but I’m secure in my career path.  Thanks again to Patrice and Associates, and Michelle! Keyona Ellis
  • Duke was always available. There were several times I made unscheduled calls and texts, and he always had time for me. 

    I am grateful to have worked with Duke Witte during my search for employment. When I heard the word recruiter, I immediately put my guard up, but it quickly came down. Duke proved himself immediately as being in my corner, and that he had my best interests at heart. I explained to Duke upfront what’s important to me, my beliefs, and my interests. I was able to speak to Duke openly and comfortably. I’m a very private person, and Duke made me very comfortable by explaining his confidentiality process between prospect and recruiter. It has been awhile since I’ve had to look for work and be interviewed. I requested a mock interview with Duke, and it helped me. I don’t think the most highly of myself at times, and Duke strongly helped me build my confidence. My original resume I created read more as a detailed portfolio and Duke rearranged things in a way that would give me opportunity to speak on my skills and abilities. He explained that the resume is my golden ticket to getting the interview, and the interview is where I sell myself and share the details that I had in my original resume. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Duke during this process, and he is a strong advocate for those needing work. I will be referring him anytime I am able. Elliott Gray Duke was always available. There were several times I made unscheduled calls and texts, and he always had time for me. 
  • Jodi Furraitti at Patrice & Associates is absolutely fabulous!

      I could tell immediately that she loves what she does for her clients and really gets to know them in depth. I had been searching for my next career path for several months and then the Covid-19 debacle happened. No one was hiring. I had posted my resume on Indeed and that’s where Jodi found me. She does her homework and even answered emails, texts and calls both day and night, and even on weekends. The whole process was quick, professional and only took one interview for me to secure a General Manager role at a luxury motorcoach resort. Jodi is a great asset to Patrice & Associates, and with this being my first experience working with a recruiter, I am highly impressed. Well done! Carolyn Masten Jodi Furraitti at Patrice & Associates is absolutely fabulous!
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    His continued support and insight have been invaluable.  He hit the ground running by asking the tough questions, managing expectations, and providing the essential motivation needed to get me across the finish line.  Clint Carpenter has the dynamic leadership and mentorship qualities that can transform a candidate‘s potential into reality.  I’m overwhelmingly impressed by his integrity, candor, and tenacity.  He has a genuine compassion and empathy that is unparalleled.  My family and I can’t express the absolute gratitude we have for Clint as he truly changed our lives forever. Thank you! Mitch Johnson I don’t have enough great things to say about Clint Carpenter!