Five Must-Have Items to Nail Your Job Interview

Admit it, no matter how splendid our resume is, first impression always lasts. Employers, as we are too, often judge their prospective employees by how professional they present themselves. Whether you are an experienced professional looking for a new challenge or a fresh graduate, do read through our recommendations here. Showing up with a professional getup is a sign that you appreciate your prospective employer by making the effort to look pulled together, and employers do take notice. Dress the part and make sure you are prepared.

To prepare for your big day, here are five items that we’ve picked to perfect your look:

1. Blazer or Jacket in Neutral Color. Owning a pair of coordinating simple-cut blazer and a skirt or pants is a must, and the safest bet to wear. It is also a staple item for anyone, as you will find the occasion when this pair will come handy. I would choose a slim-cut blazer for its flattering shape. Slim-cut does not mean tight. It means that the cutting better represents the natural curves. If this is not the case, then skip that piece, and go with another.

However, depending on how the job that you are applying for, you don’t always have to wear this to a job interview. You can pair up a neutral color blazer with a demure-colored pants. You can also throw a blazer over a structured dark-colored dress. I always have a go-to blazer to throw over my regular work clothes, just to make it less obvious that I will be running later to an interview for another job :p. Drape blazers are not off-limits. I actually prefer this for the lightweight material. Here are our picks:

From L-R: slim-fit cotton blazer (Mango); slim-fit suit jacket (Mango); single-button blazer (Zara); drape jacket (Malene Birger). Images via zara.com, mango.com, and shopbop.com

2. Classic pumps or closed-toe heels because you will never know the working environment of the company that you’re going for. If you know that the office environment is not as uptight, peep toes are fine, but I would recommend keeping your fierce heels at home for now, especially if you will be wearing skirt. The attention of the interviewer should be at your credentials, not your feet. Avoid wearing brand-new shoes or super-high heels. I always like mid-heel, something around 5 to 7 cm, depending on your skill of running around in this height. You’d never know whether you need to walk back and forth to be interviewing with different departments, or having to be introduced to groups or teams in that office. If you are wearing your favorite pumps that have been worn many times, make the effort to clean them as much as you could.

Zara Basic Court Heels (via zara.com)

3. Naked or Brown Shades Makeup Palette. Too much makeup is a turn off at job interviews. Keep your eye makeup, cheeks and lips soft. Apply neutral shades for the eye, go easy on the eyeliner, and keep the lips soft – not extra glossy. Some shimmers are fine, but big chunks of glitter are not recommended. Before coming in to the interview, make a quick detour to the toilet to blot any excess sebum, lightly reapply mattifying powder, to make you look pleasant, but not too made-up. Try Urban Decay Naked Palette (see Leija’s review on UD’s Naked #2) or Bobbi Brown Party Eye Palette.

Bobbi Brown Party Eye Palette (via bobbibrowncosmetics.com)

4. Pen and a Small Note Pad. Many people don’t bother to bring this to interviews. Pen is crucial. You don’t want to scramble around looking for a pen while filling out those interview, and it is kind of embarrassing too having to borrow a pen. A notepad is good for you to look over your list of questions to the interviewer. Always make the time to prepare a list of questions, and write them down on the last page of your notepad. While waiting to be called on, read through the questions. Notepad can also come in handy when you need to write down any follow-up documents and the names of people you meet during the interview. I always fall for the sleek Japanese stationery from Muji.

image via muji.eu

5. A medium-size bag. Pick something that does not scream logo or brand. The size should be comfortable for you to carry the things you need, like notepad and small makeup pouch, without looking like it will explode any time soon. I prefer structured bags because it’s just easier to find things without scrambling too much. Of course we love a black Prada Saffiano for its elegance, but if you don’t have the heart to place that bag on the floor, don’t bring it. Don’t assume you will be provided an extra chair to place your bag.

‘Mini City Bag Zip’ (Zara, via zara.com); embossed crocodile shopper bag (Mango, via mango.com)

Other than that, make sure that you switch off your mobile devices or put it on silent mode while you sit in the interview. While waiting for your interview, don’t get too engrossed with your gadget, make an impression that you are present.

If you are handed a business card by your interviewer, take a few moments to read through the card. Don’t just shove it to your pocket the minute you receive it. Knowing the position of the interviewer can help you cater your answer and ask more intelligent questions to suit the interviewer’s perspective.

Take one last glance before you walk into the company’s office that your hair is neat, clothes are straight and you have everything you need.

Lastly, don’t forget to nail the interview with confidence and smile :)