Dressing for Interviews in Canada

Posted by: Sana Arshad Date: November 13, 2018 Category: Blog

Congratulations, you have finally received the call-back to interview for your dream job in Canada! You have researched the company, prepared for all the tricky interview questions, and even planned out your commute to the venue. But have you considered if you are dressed appropriately for the interview?

The right clothes and appearance can not only give you an edge, but also bolster your confidence so that you can put your best foot forward. I have put together a few tips which will help you dress for success.

1) Scents

Many newcomers come from cultures where it is normal to use heavy, rich scents, and in fact it is part of the grooming process. However, in Canada, a lot of workplaces are strictly scent-free, and many people have allergies to strong scents. Just to be safe, aim to use unscented products when going for your interview.

On the other hand, make sure you don’t have strong body odors, or residual food smells trapped in your clothes

2) Shoes

A recruiter once mentioned that once the client turns to leave from the room, they pay attention to the client’s shoes, especially the back of the shoe. If the shoes are scruffy, stained, or peeling off, it can seem like the person did not make enough of an effort. In winters, salt on the streets can leave white residues on your shoes so be prepared with wet wipes.

For men, make sure your shoes are well-polished, and that your socks match your outfit. Women should ensure that their pantyhose matches their skin tone, and if wearing heels then put on a comfortable pair in case there is a bit of walking around. Never wear new shoes that you haven’t broken in to! Even the most innocent-looking pair of shoes can leave you with blisters and chafing if not worn before. The more comfortable you feel, the more you can focus on acing the interview rather than worrying about the state of your feet.

3) Clothes

While the general rule of thumb is to dress formally, you should examine the job or industry you are interviewing for. In the case of interviews in Canada, remember to also dress in accordance with the weather forecast. There is no benefit in wearing your best silk dress right in the middle of January! Make sure you are properly bundled up for the weather especially if you are taking public transit.

Even it is a laid-back company with a very relaxed dress code, you should dress one step above and aim for business casual.

The safe choice for men is to wear fitted pants, with a blazer, and a smart button-down shirt. If the position is higher up, or if the industry is more corporate like law or accounting, then add a tie and/or suit. For winter, it is perfectly acceptable to wear a collared shirt underneath a sweater, as long as your final look is still put together.

Ladies have a bit more variety whether it comes to a fitted professional dress, trousers, or a power suit. The key is to dress modestly and in your realm of comfort.

4) Hair and Accessories

Accessories can add value to your outfit, but nothing that will create a lot of movement or noise and divert attention away from you. Generally, women would do well to stick to small stud-like earrings, and simple chains or pendants, with a classy watch.

Hair should not fall on your face, nor should you keep moving or playing with it. It would be preferable to have it neatly tucked behind your ear. Simple styles include a loose bun, ponytail, loose curls with one side pinned, etc.

For men, facial hair should be neatly trimmed and groomed, while hair can be slicked back to not cover the face. The choice of watch can make an excellent first impression, and if you have a lot of items with you, make use of a brief case or messenger bag.

While these are merely suggestions, you can research the company you are interviewing for and maybe even ask the recruiter about the office dress code. One rule of thumb that I always follow is to dress a level higher than the office dress code.

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