As recruiters, we give all our attention to what candidates put on their CVs and prepare them for the interview stage. These are naturally the essentials to getting the job you deserve.

Yet, many of our candidates still also worry about what to wear to their interview. Does the old adage “dress for the job you want” still have legs? And how can candidates ensure they avoid wardrobe gaffs?

We check in with Beverly Osemwenkhae, an NYC/London personal stylist and Founder of ProjectBee Wardrobe Consulting, which offers consulting and courses to help people enhance and embrace their personal image. We ask Beverly: Why does style matter?

Hi Beverly! How important is the way an interviewee dresses to getting the job they want?

The way you present yourself plays a pivotal role in forming that all-important first impression. It’s often said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and nowhere is this truer than at a job interview.

Your appearance speaks volumes, even before you’ve said a word. It takes less than seven seconds for someone to form an opinion about you and a tenth of a second to form traits of trustworthiness.

A candidate’s appearance shouldn’t make or break an offer, but what does paying attention to how they look signal to a recruiter?

Paying attention to your appearance doesn’t mean dressing in the latest trends. A well-groomed, appropriately dressed candidate signals to a recruiter that they want to be considered professional, attentive to detail, and respectful of the opportunity offered.

A disheveled appearance can convey a lack of preparedness or commitment, and that can be so easily avoided, especially when they’ve already done the hard work in making it to the interview.

How can our candidates ensure what they wear won’t distract from their professional talents?

My take is for candidates to align their style with the company’s workplace environment. Different industries and organisations have individual expectations regarding dress codes and professional appearance. Whether it’s a corporate suit or a more creative ensemble, dressing in a manner that resonates with the company ethos demonstrates your understanding and respect for their culture.

Researching the company culture beforehand can provide insights into appropriate attire for the interview. A quick search through Instagram and LinkedIn should return many results. Dressing similarly will help interviewees fit in and ensure recruiters focus on their skills and professional talents.

It can feel quite daunting for candidates to think about appearance as well as what they’re going to say at the interview. How have you motivated your clients in these situations?

I tell them: Have you ever noticed how slipping into a sharp suit or a chic outfit can instantly boost your confidence and make you feel? Your attire isn’t just a reflection of your personality. It sends an instant message of what you believe is true about yourself!

When you feel good about your appearance, that positive energy radiates outward. This automatically sets the stage for a confident and impactful interview performance.

Being confident and poised is noticeable, and I believe employers are more likely to be drawn to candidates who exude it.

How do you help candidates to find their style? 

There are so many options out there that it can feel overwhelming for anyone walking into a retail store. I approach this process by discussing their style goals and expectations for hiring a stylist. After we discuss a game plan, I curate a mood-board and dive into their wardrobe because where everything begins with your style. It also give me a chance to do a light edit and discover the gaps in their closet. This process gives me and the client more direction in helping find their personal style. Then we go shopping, which is where the real fun begins!

For an interview, keep your look minimal but still interesting and memorable. Here are some options I have curated for interview success:

Womenswear for a creative role

Wearing colour is a great way to set the tone, as colours evoke emotion. Keep your look fresh, chic and polished. Add your own flair by incorporating a statement piece.

Womenswear for a corporate role

A corporate setting doesn’t have to mean ‘boring!’ Keep your look smart by adding a structured blazer and, instead of a classic heel, opt for a mule. 

Menswear for a creative role

Add interest with a textured sports jacket or a jacket with a light print. This jacket should be your statement piece; you will want to keep everything else neutral.

Menswear for a corporate role

‘Fit’ is usually the answer when it comes to finding a great suit. A darker tone is always a good bet and, depending on the role and industry, a tie may be necessary. Remember to get everything tailored and pressed before the day of the interview!


Thanks so much to Beverly for her opinions on why dressing well can help you succeed at a work interview. If you are looking for a job and you need help with polishing your profile and CV, get in touch. Our recruitment agency is based in the heart of London. We specialise in finding talented candidates the best roles in the capital’s finance and banking sectors.