Dress for success – what to wear to an interview

It is a general rule that you need to dress well for an interview. However, getting the 'tone' just right can be tricky, especially if you want to make an ideal first impression. You may have the best CV on the planet, and on paper you're a boss' dream, but all of this can be in vain if you come to the office looking like you've been on a night out and walked right through a garbage truck.

Of course, most of what determines whether you get the job or not will depend on what you actually say, but your dress style can contribute up to ten per cent of the final impression you make.

So what to wear? Well, you won't need Gok Wan to answer this. If you are going for a specific role, where in the future you would be expected to wear a uniform, you may not need to turn up in a suit, but you will still need to look smart and professional. For example, going for chef jobs does not mean that you need to turn up in your all-whites.

When picking what to wear, it should be both classic and clean. You will want to dress in one or two colours only, with shades often associated with a uniform, such as black, white, navy or grey. The last thing you want to do is don loud colours such as green, purple and orange. Your interviewer should be listening to what you are saying rather than being distracted by your fashion sense.

Generally, it is best to remain low-key, but this does not mean that you cannot be individual. This can be achieved by incorporating an interesting accessory, such as a brooch for women or a bright tie for men, if you want to stand out from all the other candidates. Again, do not run wild with this. Men should stick to basics with one colour with their tie and not choose a zany pattern that will be remembered for the wrong reason, while women should not go crazy with their favourite jewellery. In a job, you will be told to keep all jewels to a minimum, so this should be replicated in your interview.

Other things to avoid include obvious branding, logos, crazy patterns, florals, tartans and cartoon images. For girls, you can wear subtle make-up, as this will be a great way to accentuate your eyes and mouth, the prime sites of communication. However, you don't want too much plastered on as this never gives off a good vibe. Never reveal flesh as it will be unacceptable to bare a midriff or show any tattoos and body piercings. For guys, while facial hair is not an issue anymore in the workplace, note that a heavy beard may still act as a barrier to communication, so try and spend some time grooming it if you can.

Combine all of these tips with not smelling like cigarettes or alcohol and you're onto a winner. It's that easy.

Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you find hospitality jobs.

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