Dress to Impress

The ‘work hard, play harder’ student lifestyle has its eventual ends in the big bad world of work. Interviews may be a daunting process but you don’t want to face rejection for your personal presentation…
I got in touch the Head of Trainee Recruitment, Elizabeth Cope, at top Law firm Freshfields to see what employers look for:

What type of dress code impresses you as an interviewer?

Above all, dress smartly. That does not mean shelling out £500 on a designer suit but does mean wearing a clean, neat, ironed outfit which suggests that you have thought about the corporate environment that you are going into. Most male candidates put on a suit and tie and most female candidates wear a suit or a top and trousers/skirt, but the main thing is to look smart.

What wouldn’t you want to see in an interviewee?

We are a client-facing profession and your interviewers are trying to work out whether they could sensibly put you in front of clients, so crumpled clothes and messy hair will not help.

What basic rules would you say should be followed?

We’re are not looking for “identikit” trainees who all dress alike with the same hairstyle so I wouldn’t say that there are any rules as such. The emphasis is on you, not your clothes and accessories, so the watch-words should be “neat and tidy” and “non-distracting”.

What are your views on make-up and hairstyles for women?

It comes back to the point about not doing anything that is going to distract the interviewers so don’t let your hair hang in your face so that you constantly need to push it out of the way. Make-up really comes down to personal preference, but steer away from anything that looks too theatrical.

As dull as interview wear sounds there are no rules to say you can’t dress in a fashionable on-trend suit. There are blogs devoted to “work chic” ( and fashion websites that make finding an on-trend smart outfit easier ( If you’re taking part in lots of interviews why not purchase something a little more expensive that will last, this will undoubtedly give a good impression.

However, if your budget can’t stretch too far there are many high street brands which produce fashionable yet serious work wear ( wardrobe), as well as Next, H&M, Topshop and Topman.?

So, good luck with interviews and just make sure it’s not your outfit that lets you down, there really isn’t an excuse.

Carla El Gawly


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