Appearance to Job Interviews

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It has become mind-blowing that job seekers wear native attires, shorts, and tops for professional job interviews. It makes you wonder if it is a social or traditional event.

Is it then wrong to wear native attires for job interviews? Your interview attire should send the message that you have the insight to recognize what the job and company require and that you are able to fit in with this.

First impression matters!

As recruiters, we have come to realize that lots of job seekers don’t take their interview appearance seriously. Many have lost the chance of getting the job due to how they appeared at the interviews.

Now let’s set it straight! Whether it’s a Friday or Monday, you should always appear properly dressed and ready for an interview. We have gotten funny responses like

“Oh! I didn’t think what I am wearing is wrong because it’s a Friday”;

“We are allowed to wear native in my current place of work and since I am coming from the office there is no way I could have changed my outfit”;

“I think I am properly dressed as native attire is an acceptable dressing in Nigeria, even Banks allow their staff to wear native on Fridays”,

“I got the interview notice late”.

When you hear some of these reasons you just wonder…

Felicia’s Story

Felicia applied for a job and subsequently was invited for an interview. She appeared at the interview dressed in an Ankara jumpsuit that had a bad zipper and a very low cut neck. Her hair was dyed yellow and was left in an unkempt manner. Her nails wear dirty and her shoes very dusty.

Immediately she worked into the interview room, the interview panelist made an instant impression. Even though she answered the interview questions very well, she was not shortlisted because of the nature of role in question and also the culture of the organization. If she had appeared better dressed, she might have been considered for the role.

At the interviews, interviewers don’t consider only your knowledge of the subject matter, but do also consider other things such as interpersonal skills, appearance, if the candidate will be a good fit for the organization, etc.

The standard recommendations for job interview clothing’s are quite simple – be neat and tidy, smart and relatively conservative. In general, the candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.

It is important to remember that candidates do not get jobs because of what they wear to the interview, however a number of candidates damage their chances of success by dressing inappropriately. A personal sense of style is valuable but be aware of aligning your dress to the requirements of the situation.

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression and a first impression is made in the first 30 seconds. Know how to look, act the part and stand out as the right job candidate.

For a professional look for Men:

Consider wearing a Suit (Solid color- navy, black or dark grey), Tie, Good belt, Conservative leather shoes with dark socks, little or no jewelry; ensure your nails are clean and properly trimmed.

Women should consider wearing

Suit (navy, black, or dark grey) – make sure the suit’s skirt is long enough so you can sit down comfortable, Coordinated blouse, Conservative shoes, Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets), Professional hairstyle, Light make-up and perfume, Neatly manicured clean nails.

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