Let us start with the old adage: First impression is the last impression. We agree that it is a bit cliché and the rules of conduct have generally relaxed, especially with the dominance of Hollywood. Individuality has taken precedence over proper forms of address and only the British Thespians really use the highly formal level of English; that also, in series like Downtown Abbey. But, unless you are applying for a job which requires creativity on your part, we would advise you to stay safe and appear in formal clothing for your interview.
Imagine turning up for an interview in Ernst & Young, for the post of Audit Associate, wearing your baggy jeans and a loose t-shirt. If getting everyone’s attention was your goal, you would have achieved it with flying colors, but we cannot say the same for getting the job. See, when you enter the interview room, your attire needs to be respectful of the job requirements. Accounting or Audit is a highly responsible field, in which you will be doing everything according to the book. When you enter wearing such informal clothes, it points to an easy going nature, which is in contrast to what the profession demands. This drastically reduces your chances of landing the job. Hence, for some jobs at least, formal attire is absolutely necessary.
Even in formal attire, what people need to understand is the importance of small things. In most cases, people will opt for a pants and a dress shirt. However, if you are going with these pieces then the crease needs to be impeccable. Why you ask? Some jobs require an attention to small details and having a highly principled approach. Let’s take Auditing as an example. Its main purpose is to provide an assurance to major stakeholders that the accounts are in order and present a fair picture of the business. The profession demands a person to be skeptical of the accounts and the whole process of audit requires rules to be followed to the last degree. Now, when you enter the place of interview wearing formal attire, which has been properly creased, it gives visual cues to the interviewer about how your mind works. The single crease on your pants and the sleeves of your shirt, will present you as a person who is highly organized and knows how to do something by the book.
In contrast, if your attire displays multiple creases, it reflects badly on you. It will make you appear as a careless person. It shows that you knew what was to be done, but did not put in the required effort to go the last mile and gave up before the end. Even if you do opt for something less formal, then that needs to be in its best possible form. We strongly advise against shirts which have quotations or symbols inscribed on them, for what is inspiration to one person, may just be distasteful to another. While we agree that it is the person’s ability that interviewers should be concerned with, and not his taste in dressing, it is a fact that visual cues can still have a major part in deciding the final person for the position. So, stay safe and dress appropriately, taking care of how you enter, how you greet others, and always remember that the way you dress reflects on how you think.
Contributing: Frank Lee - www.artfulclub.com
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