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What NOT to wear to your next job interview

Posted on: June 5th, 2015 by admin No Comments

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According to psychologists, you’ve got just one tenth of a second1 to make a good first impression, and it’s fickle, but your clothing plays a fundamental role.

This is particularly true in an interview situation, during which the recruiter is looking for indicators that you’re up to the job. This is where media professionals struggle.

If you were applying for a job in finance, finding the right job interview attire would be a doddle, as all you’d have to do is don your smartest suit.

Media jobs are trickier because most media companies don’t enforce a strict dress code, resulting in an eclectic workforce wardrobe, wherein employees err towards the casual or trendy. Don a suit in this environment and you could come off as uptight, stuffy and uncreative, making you look like a bad fit for the role.

The following tips will help you gauge what you can and can’t get away with wearing when interviewing for a job in the media industry.

Always overdress

You may have looked the company up on Facebook and seen that their general office wear comprises of Converse and graphic tees but that doesn’t mean anything until you’ve been given a job offer.

Overdress for every job interview you secure because it shows the interviewing manager that you’re taking the opportunity seriously. You don’t need to wear a full suit but a smart pair of trousers or a pencil skirt combined with a crisp shirt is timeless and can seriously up your professional persona.

Keep tattoos discreet

Whilst it’s true that your tattoos are unlikely to raise any eyebrows at the cool, Shoreditch-based start-up you’re about to interview at, it’s worth keeping them under wraps during your initial meetings with management.

This is purely because you need all of the attention to be on your experience and skillset, and tattoos have the potential to distract and steer conversations off-topic.

Avoid a hairy situation

If you’ve got long hair, you may want to tie it up, as British weather and tube journeys habitually leave ultra-stylish hairdos tangled and/or stuck to your face by the time you’ve reached your destination.

When it comes to facial hair, opt for clean-shaven or a trimmed beard to demonstrate that you’ve made an effort.

Leave accessories at home

Novelty ties, excessive amounts of jewellery, hats… Save all of your favourite accessories for once you’ve actually got the job and your colleagues know you better because, at this stage, it could just end up looking unprofessional.

Wash away the weekend

You may be wearing those festival wristbands and hand stamps from last night’s epic gig with pride but your future employers could get the wrong impression. Dispel of any remnants that could have you marked down as unkempt or more of a partier as opposed to a hard worker.

Unplug yourself before entering the building

Tuck your iPod leads out of sight before even setting foot in the office – you want to appear focused and ready for your interview from the moment you enter the reception.

Once you’ve nailed your interview outfit, the real challenge begins: answering an hour’s worth of interview questions. Click here for our guide on how to tackle the toughest interview questions ever asked.


1 Psychological Science, 2006. How Many Seconds to a First Impression? [Online] Available at: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2006/july-06/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression.html. [Accessed 5th June 2015].

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