How To Dress For A Government Job Interview

Pursuing a career in government is not for everyone. Certain attributes and personality traits are common among those who seek to serve the public good through their vocation. It would stand to reason that successful job candidates would be able to communicate these attributes through job interview wardrobe choices.


5 Outfit Tips For A Government Job Interview

In any job interview situation, care must be taken to match the expectations of the industry. It’s a safe bet to assume that a governmental agency will tend to be more conservative than the private sector — meaning that if you are in doubt as to whether you’re outfit choice is too “out there,” it probably is. Here are a few more suggestions that will help you dress for the job you want:

1. Your Clothes Should Enhance, Not Detract From, Your Overall Presence

Clean lines and uncomplicated silhouettes are best. When you are sitting across the desk from an interviewer, your goal is for them to concentrate on what you are saying, not what you are wearing. Any articles of clothing that scream “Look at me!” should thus be avoided.

2. Choose Classic Colors That Connote Responsibility And Engender Respect

Whether or not we are aware of it or not, humans are wired to respond to various colors in different ways. The psychology of color plays a factor in our reactions in different situations. Therefore, it’s a safe bet to stick to a conservative palette of black, white, dark blue, and grey. That being said, if your favorite color is red and it bolsters your confidence, incorporate it in a small way into your outfit.

3. Muted Accessories And Makeup Are Options

Again, your goal is for the interviewer to remember how impressive you are — not how loud your tie was or the fevered pitch of your eye shadow. Jewelry should also be subdued. Gauged ears or body piercings are not acceptable. Body art has become more prolific than it has been in the past, but it’s still a safe bet to cover it up during an interview. Enhance and complement your features, but think of accessories as spice in chili: Too much cayenne pepper, and all you’ll remember is the heartburn!

4. Fragrance Should Compel, Not Repel

If your cologne or perfume precedes your entrance to a room, you’re wearing too much. Aside from the force-field nature of too much fragrance, asthma, migraines and allergies can be very real issues when interacting with others. Be mindful of how much fragrance you use.

5. Be You

Now that you've stripped away all sense of individuality in the preceding suggestions, don’t forget to be you! People like to work with people, not robots, and your interviewer will wish to get a sense of who you are. Incorporate small signature elements of your personality in your outfit and include things that will make you feel happy and confident during your government job interview. But, again, don’t go over the top.
This article was written by Social Media Outreach Coordinator, Brian Childs on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2U– an education-technology companythat offers online resources for graduate students such as OnlineMPADegrees.com.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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