Nailing a job interview is a competitive process, and most folks put all their effort into second-guessing the questions they'll be asked and rehearsing their answers. (Yes, we know your weakness is that you are just too much a perfectionist). But equally important is how you present yourself in front of the interviewer. There's no use having an impressive spiel if you deliver it in a pair of Crocs and a hoodie.
Your clothing speaks volumes
"I've had people turn up for an interview in dirty un-ironed shirts," says Bianca Azzopardi, general manager for Zambrero. "I figure if you can't be bothered washing and ironing your shirt, you really aren't serious about the interview. Being neat and tidy shows you are willing to put in some effort."
To know what to wear to your next job interview, it pays to know everything there is to know about your prospective employer and their core values.
"Turning up in a suit to an office with a casual business culture suggests you haven't really done your research," says Azzopardi. "Similarly, we have quite a humanitarian component to our business (the One Disease charity); we are humble, modest people, so you wouldn't show up for an interview here with a flashy gold watch and lots of bling."
Express yourself. Within limits.
Azzopardi also says it's important to show your personality through your attire. However, if your personality sees you wearing overalls and a man-bun to apply for a finance job at Macquarie Bank, perhaps you should be looking for a job in a hipster craft-beer bar instead?
Setting yourself apart from others going for the same job is obviously essential, and that can often come down to the sartorial details.
Stephen Viscusi, author of Bulletproof Your Job, reckons something as simple as wearing a wristwatch can be that much needed point of difference, especially as most millennials these days use their smartphones to tell the time.
Speaking of which, stylist and image consultant, Karine Marr founder of Business of Style, says never wear a fake watch to an interview. "A lot more people are educated about watches these days and the interviewer will be able to spot a fake a mile off," she says. "He, or she will be left wondering what else you may be faking."
As for your choice of watch, it should say something about your personality, and/or have a story behind it. "Perhaps it's a family heirloom, or you purchased it because you appreciate the history of the maker. Whatever your reasons for wearing a certain watch, you should know its origins and a little about the brand, just in case the interviewer asks you about it."
Let your feet do the talking
Shoes are another element that can make or break an interview. "Your interviewer will definitely notice your footwear, especially if it's scruffy, or dirty." says Marr. "If in doubt, always wear black shoes and make sure they are clean and polished. If you're in line for a more casual position, you can get away with new suede shoes. And always match your shoes to your belt."
Dr Robyn Johns, senior lecturer human resource management, UTS, says simply brushing your teeth and putting on some deodorant is a good start. "I'm quite sensitive to bad breath, and so I hate it when someone hasn't brushed their teeth before an interview," she says. "And body odour is a real no, no. Wear a nice cologne, but not so much that it smells like you've bathed in it."
"As for suits. Employers won't expect someone going for an entry level corporate job to turn up in a bespoke three-piece from Savile Row. A less expensive suit is fine, just as long as it is pressed and well presented."
Check out the gallery above to see seven major style mistakes that could cost you the job.