What to wear for an interview

Since I move back home last year, I have been looking for a job in the city. As a result I had to do some interviews. It was always a struggle finding the perfect outfit that would help me make the right kind of impression. I always knew what worked abroad but I had no clue as to what my countrymen/women wore for interviews. To find out, I made a little poll on Facebook and based on those answers, here is what I think one should wear for interviews in Senegal (it can work abroad as well)

- A Dark Formal Suit

Dark formal suits, one with pants, one with a pencil skirt 

I am a firm believer that it is better to be overdressed than under dressed. A suit (pantsuit or with a pencil skirt) in black (or navy) will make the right impression particularly when it is fitted and in the latest style. You can pair it with a crispy white collard shirt or a cream blouse. This outfit is perfect for interviews in the corporate world.

- A Deconstructed Suit

A deconstructed suit: tan jacket, white shirt and dark pants

If you are interviewing in a place that is less stuffy (more creative), you can opt for what I call a deconstructed suit. Wear some fitted slacks or skirt with a blazer of another color, for example a pastel pink blazer with a grey pencil skirt or my favorite a fitted dress with a complementary jacket. Opt for pastels tones as well as they are softer and more feminine.

- Traditional or Ethnic wear

This would only work in Senegal (or other countries where people wear ethnic). On Fridays, everyone wears traditional in here, even in offices. Therefore If you happen to have an interview that day, chose a traditional outfit that is not too flashy or too glitzy. Opt for simplicity and elegance.

- Accessories

For interviews, you need to stand out but for the right reasons. So I suggest you wear as little accessories as possible. There is no need for statement necklaces and over-sized rings. Wear a watch (necessary to check the time) , small earrings and a thin chain if your neck is exposed. For the other essentials opt for a good leather or quality bag in  discreet color such as black, brown or beige. It would be nice if it matched the shoes. For those, wear flats ( ballerina or pointed toe) or low heeled pumps.

- Attention

Whatever you wear, remember that it need to fit your properly. Do not wear too short, too tight, too revealing. Take care to iron the outfit if need be and to keep it clean. Your hairstyle also should be neat. If you cover your hair, a simple scarf tied in a non distracting style is OK. Above all be you: wear something that reflects your personality and that you are comfortable in. For example do not wear brand new heels you have not broke in yet. You want the outfit to do the right kind of talking as soon as you walk inside the interview room.

Good luck!


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