We all know that dressing for an interview requires you fix up and look as sharp as you possibly can. Somewhat unfairly, however, if you’re going for an interview there’s a good chance you’ve been out of work and are flat broke. You may even just have graduated and be riddled with student debt, making looking well-groomed seem like a tall order.
Help is at hand, however. In reality, all you really need to get you looking lickety-split is a copious helping of good old traditional elbow grease. Without further ado, get in touch with your inner “make do and mend” spirit with our tips on how to scrub up without having to shell out too much.
Dressing for an interview on a budget
1. Buy a second-hand suit
A well-made suit can take years of wear, so those stocked in charity shops are likely to be in comparatively much better nick than other garments on the rail. With a bit of luck (and adequate time spent fishing) you might even be able to glean something much better than anything you could find new. Brush off your suit, and carefully remove any stains with hot water. One thing you shouldn’t compromise on, however, is the fit – few things are less flattering than a badly-fitting suit, and if you can’t find one that does the job you may indeed be better off buying a suit jacket new.
Top tip: Hang your suit in the bathroom while you’re having a shower, and – hey presto – the steam will help any wrinkles drop out.
2. Spit and polish
You don’t need a new pair of shoes to attend an interview. You do, however, need to give your old ones a bit of love and attention. Take out the laces, clean off with a brush and then wipe with a wet rag. Dry and polish.
Top tip: Putting some baking soda inside your shoes will also help keep nervous and sweaty interview feet fresh.
3. Make best friends with your iron
Unfortunately, the time has come to admit your grandmother was right. Although the prospect may be startling for those unfamiliar with the idea, nothing gives off a better impression than a carefully-pressed shirt.
Top tip: If years of relaxed university life has left you unsure of how to iron a shirt properly, there’s plenty of video guides on the net.
4. Clean your nails
If you’re going for a job in an office rather than down at the farm, males and females alike should pay some attention to the state of their hands. Luxury can come cheap: all you need to five yourself a five-minute manicure is a nail file. Soak your hands in water and soap, dry off and shape and file your nails.
Top tip: You may want to avoid applying hand cream, as when combined with nerves this may lead to cold fish handshake syndrome.
5. Comb your hair
A decent hairstyle is one of the most influential factors in looking polished. Ladies, if you can’t afford to get your hair cut, tie it up. Gents, get it cut on the cheap. And both sexes: if you have growing-out roots or strange-looking colours in your hair, grab a bottle of dye from the supermarket and get rid ASAP.
Top tip: Any haircuts or colour changes should be made at least a week before your interview, in case you accidentally turn it green.
Good luck in your interview!
Image: Stephen Kennedy