For many employers, details matter. For some, that could even mean what you wear to an interview.
Markio Thomas, a nonverbal communications instructor at The University of New Mexico, said she suggests interviewees “find a balance between formal and being comfortable with what you're wearing. Wear something that still shows your personality.”
According to Thomas, clothing is a key part of nonverbal communication — there are many aspects to nonverbal communication, but clothing is the one thing a person has the most control over.
Within the first 30 seconds to a minute of meeting someone, you begin to have ideas about the other person based on nonverbal communication, she said. This means the clothing that you choose to wear to an interview sends a message that will leave an impact on the person.
Although it will be your knowledge, experience and social skills that ultimately land you the job, first impressions do matter, Thomas said. The way that you choose to dress can show off different aspects of your personality, and for an interview, you have the opportunity to show your professional side.
“It's always best to dress to impress,” Rowdy Davis, a UNM student, said.
Since nonverbal communication is the first type of communication between an interviewer and interviewee, it is essential to dress professionally for an interview, Thomas said.
She suggests, when deciding what to wear to an interview, students ask themselves about what type of job they are being interviewed for and what other people wear to this job.
If the job is professional, you should dress professionally to show the interviewer that you take the job you are applying for seriously, Thomas said.
Regardless, her advice is to wear something that is formal, but still you.
“This means don't show your midriff and don't show a ton of skin, just because we still have a lot of cultural perceptions about what showing a lot of skins means,” Thomas said. “At the same time, find a medium ground between formal and something that also shows your personality. If the outfit is not really you, don't wear it. You don't want to be uncomfortable during the interview.”
If you are uncomfortable, you might feel self conscious — you want to be confident going into an interview, she said.
What you wear to an interview has the potential to communicate a number of things, Davis said.
He recommends being overdressed rather than underdressed, because expressing confidence in yourself helps the interviewer see that you are competent.
“It communicates your attention to detail and your dedication to the post you’re applying for. More importantly, it communicates what you think your worth is as a person and to the company,” Davis said.
If you wear the right outfit, it should not only send a positive message to the interviewer, but it should also boost your confidence, Thomas said.
Megan Holmen is a freelance news and culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter @megan_holmen.