The Interview

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Look the part to get the part

You might not think dressing the right way for your interview will be the make or break in getting you the job, but you may be surprised!

Whether we like it or not, many of us make judgements based on what we see all the time. People who are different from what you expect can often be victims of discrimination in an almost casual way. What I mean by this is, many of us decide on a ‘right’ look and a ‘wrong’ look. Some of our decisions might be learnt from our parents and some might be the product of people we come into contact with, and we could like or dislike them for any number of reasons.

The Mirror newspaper recently did an article on how women can be judged as less competent based on what they wear, take a look at the full article here https://www.mirror.co.uk/science/women-who-wear-sexy-outfits-13959729

Men are not excluded from this either; this month, The Telegraph reported a man dressed as a homeless person collapsed in the street and no one came to help. The same man dressed in a suit also collapsed in the street and was helped immediately! Social experiments have shown that if we think the person is dressed well, they are probably ok to help, in fact when the experiment was conducted 10 times, on all occasions, the well-dressed version was helped and 2 times out of 10 the shabbily dressed version was helped. Makes you think; I hope I have some decent clothes on if I ever take ill!

How we look on the outside is how people tend to judge us; that might not seem fair, but ask yourself this, if you were asked by a shabbily dressed person for £1 to let them get a sandwich, or you were asked for the same £1 by a well-dressed person who told you they were just £1 short for their sandwich, who would you be most likely to give the money to?

Social research has been done on this, and hopefully, it will be no surprise that the well-dressed person was given the money twice as often, even although they clearly didn’t really need it. It goes to show we make decisions based on a random set of events, so when we go for an interview, we need to get it right to make sure we are not discriminated against for having something that triggers the interviewer’s judgement centre.

Match as closely as you can to the dress code already established in the organisation. If they are very conservative and you have a creative dress sense, possibly with lots of piercings and/or tattoos, consider how this will be perceived in the interview. Depending on how much you want the job you may have to present a more conservative look to the interviewer.

Always try and find a work environment that supports the real you, the authentic you. If you are creative and wacky and the environment is conservative, and dare I say, ‘stuffy’, you might just not love working there! If you are conservative and love to look smart, a ‘casual, anything goes’ environment might not be right for you. How we dress is often a reflection of who we are, so if we can be comfortable on the outside and comfortable on the inside we have probably found a good match.

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