What to wear to your job interview is a crucial question that may leave you feeling confused and a little stressed - particularly if it's been a long time since you've attended an interview.
Whilst we are not suggesting that a person will be considered purely on the clothes they wear, self-presentation is an important part of the assessment process during interview. In our experience as legal recruitment specialists, law firms - particularly national or international law firms - are typically conservative and “corporate” environments. When preparing to attend an interview, it’s important to ensure your presentation is consistent with the firms’ corporate image.
Stick to the classics
In my opinion, the best advice when it comes to attire for a job interview is to stick to something classic. Once you have commenced employment at the firm, you’ll have a birds eye view of what everyone else wears day to day and you’ll be able to assess the status quo. But for the interview, it is best to play it safe, streamlined and professional.
Be season appropriate, yet professional
If you find yourself interviewing in the middle of summer and want to avoid arriving in a hot sweaty mess, it’s fine for you to skip certain items. But be mindful of what you are choosing instead. Open toed shoes still need to be professional. If possible, give yourself 10 to 15 minutes prior to the interview in the building lobby or a café nearby to cool down and before you put on a suit jacket, or conversely in winter, time to warm up and take off your coat and scarf prior to your interview.
The balance of professionalism, authenticity and comfort
Dressing corporately and professionally doesn't mean you can't be authentic. It's important that your outfit makes you feel comfortable in your own skin and empowered to present with confidence. Finding that balance is key; for example, if heels and a skirt don't fit into your personal style, then don't force yourself into them for an interview. Choose corporate flats and slacks that feel genuine to your identity.
Equally, wear something that you are physically comfortable in. It never hurts to have a tried and true suit / dress / slacks and top that you can move well in. The last thing you want is to feel like you need to constantly adjust your jacket, or struggle to walk in your shoes.
Video interviews count, too!
With the COVID-19 pandemic came the rise of remote working and video interviews. Don’t underestimate the importance of first impressions on a video meeting! Give the same amount of time and thought to your presentation and background as you would for a face-to-face meeting.
Take time to find an area that isn't too visually distracting, so that you stand out on the screen and not your background. Set your computer or phone up at eye-level, so you aren't looking down or in an uncomfortable position during the meeting.
It may be tempting to try the ‘newsreader’ look, dressing professionally from above the waist and in sweatpants and slippers below but be mindful that you want to feel confident and professional – not stressed about keeping the screen on your top half only. Getting dressed up from head to toe will help you prepare mentally for the interview.
Dazzle with your personality and skills
An interview is a time for an employer to get to know about you. Nailing your physical presentation means that you, and your interviewer, will focus on what matters the most - your personality, your skills and how you could potentially fit into their team.
To anyone who is interviewing soon, good luck!
Contributed by Laura Barratt and Alessyn Hecht
Photo by Rene Asmussen, Pexels
Barratt Galvin is an Australian based legal recruitment business providing law firm resourcing solutions. Collectively, our consultants have over twenty year’s experience placing legal professionals into law jobs locally and internationally.
Based in Sydney, we assist legal professionals looking for legal jobs within Australia, as well as those relocating to or returning from London and the Middle East legal markets.
Our core client base is made up of elite private practice legal teams within mid to top tier and international law firms. The legal jobs we recruit for include Lawyers, Legal Secretaries, EA/PA, HR, Business Development & Marketing and Office Support.
As recruitment experts in Australia, London and the Middle East we can assist you with your international or local legal job search. Barratt Galvin is focussed on providing you access to legal job opportunities that align with your career goals, at the best possible salary level within the market.
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