Monday, October 11, 2010

Looking Confident and Professional in an Interview

When young women dress for an interview they often wear what they think is appropriate from their perspective... or they dress in a way that maximises their attractiveness.  But a more tactical approach is to dress in a way that creates a positive psychological impression.
How do you do that?  By expressing what the professional and corporate sectors value... not your own personal values... and not fashion trends that are popular amongst your own age group.
So what do the professional and corporate sectors value?
They value staff who can be : practical, capable, effective in their role, have high standards, and pay attention to details.
These are the five characteristics of an Alpha personality, and they are generally expressed as a way of dressing that is :
  • simple (practical)
  • strong (capable)
  • and functional (effective)
  • with an obvious quality (high standards)
  • and an understated elegance (attention to detail).

For women this translates as a look that's :
  • simple... not too frilly or too loud (overly bright) 
  • strong... using solid colours as your foundation
  • functional... clothing and accessories that are practical for the role.

And if you can afford it, one or more items that have :
  • an obvious quality... in fabrics and craftsmanship
  • and an understated elegance... a subtle sophistication and attention to detail.

Suits : a suit (trousers or skirt) can express all the characteristics of Alpha Styling.

 The classic suit above is workable with or without the belt.

If you have a jacket, make sure that your top and skirt-or-trousers are the same colour.

 If you haven't got a suit or a jacket, then another option is a classic tailored dress.

Bags :  Although most women enjoy bags that are adorned with buckles, straps and tassles,
a simple elegant bag will look more professional (see examples above and below).

Other points to keep in mind include :
  • don't take a very old (worn) bag to an interview
  • never over-fill your bag
  • and make sure your bag and shoes match in colour.

Footwear :  Your choice of shoes should also reflect Alpha Styling... so avoid anything with excess adornment. The shoes above are both simple and elegant.  

Some companies have a dress-code in regard to footwear, so it's always better to wear a closed-toe shoe. And always make sure that your shoes are clean and polished (no scuffs).

Following are some examples of common styles of footwear. For the purpose of this blog I have selected black examples :

This classic high-heel could be worn with trousers, or a skirt of any kind.
And if you do wear a skirt, always wear pantyhose.

This wedge-heel could also be worn with trousers or a skirt of any kind.

These 'flats' have a distinctly feminine look, so they could be worn with trousers or a skirt.

If you prefer plain solid shoes, then you should only wear them with trousers.

Short boots should only ever be worn with trousers (in a corporate environment).

Jewellery :  Strive to minimise the jewellery you wear to an interview.... and only wear items that are simple and elegant.

Ear-ring styles to consider are : small hoops ; huggys ; or studs.  A simple and elegant idea can be seen in the photo at the top of the blog (pearl ear-rings and necklace).

Sunglasses :  Big sunglasses with wide sides and bling are popular right now... but that style can be seen as being too pretentious for the business and corporate sectors. Stick with the classic styles... they're timeless, and they cross all generations.
Make-up : An important but often neglected element is make-up. Make-up is best kept subtle. Being 'on-trend' with colours and styles has no place in a corporate environment.

The make-up examples in the photos of this post are all good examples of corporate make- up.

In summary : The goal of dressing with Alpha Styling is to make a positive psychological impression in your interview. 

Although it may seem plain or restrictive in style, once you settle in to your work environment you will generally find that you can express a more personalised way of dressing.

Keep in mind that every business wants to present a professional image that appeals to a broad range of age groups, and cultures. And that's why they're not really keen on strange new fashion trends being worn in the work-place. It could give the wrong impression (of the business).
So remember the five parameters of Alpha Styling :
  1. simple... nothing too frilly or too loud
  2. strong - use solid colours as your foundation
  3. functional - wear or carry items that are practical
  4. with an obvious quality - in fabrics and craftsmanship
  5. and an understated elegance - a subtle sophistication and attention to detail.
It's a Primal Thing.

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