Most job seekers know they're supposed to dress professionally for a job interview, but not all realize how truly important appropriate attire is. The clothes you wear help set the tone of the meeting and have a huge impact on where the interview leads. Understanding the role your outfit will play in your interview will help you choose the right clothes -- and ensure that your clothing doesn't negatively affect your job prospects.
Make a First Impression
According to the Chicago Tribune, employers read a lot into a candidate's attire, and before you even have the chance to introduce yourself, a potential employer will already be developing his first impression based on your appearance. If you present yourself professionally -- in a suit and tie, for example -- his first impression will likely be that you have respect for him and you care about the job. However, if you look unkempt or disheveled, he could decide that you're lazy or feel the job isn't that important, and you might have difficulty convincing him otherwise no matter what you say during the interview.
Impact Your Confidence
When you walk into an interview room and you know you're dressed for success, you'll likely feel much more confident about yourself. This confidence will show in your body language and overall demeanor, and the person interviewing you will pick up on it in your responses to her questions. Alternatively, if you're self-conscious about your appearance, you're likely to feel more nervous during the interview, and all aspects of your behavior will reflect your discomfort.
Influence Being Hired
Believe it or not, your appearance could make or break your chances of getting hired. While an employer can't discriminate against you for your race, sex, age or disability, he can certainly turn you down because you weren't dressed appropriately during the interview. An employer is more likely to hire a qualified candidate who showed up in well-fitting, professional attire over a candidate with similar experience who arrived looking as though he got dressed in the dark.
Could Distract the Interviewer
While you're telling a potential employer about your greatest accomplishments at your last job, the last thing you want is for her attention to be focused on a stain on your blazer or a tattoo peeking out from beneath your sleeve. An outfit that isn't clean, well-fitting and conservative can distract the interviewer and cause her to only hear a portion of your answers to her questions.