Congratulations on making it through your first interview, but now on to the next round, and a new set of style rules. Since you passed the first interview you probably already know that first impressions are crucial in the hiring process, but that doesn't mean a positive first impression can't be completely invalidated by a poor second meeting. Your second interview will most likely be with the higher-ups, who will have the final word before you are hired, so you need to step up your wardrobe, hair, and makeup. Read our tips below on how to dress for your second job interview to seal the deal.
Your clothing is undeniably the most integral and statement-making component in your interview look. Use the hiring manager and the employees you observed in the office during the first interview as a rough guide for what's appropriate. Each company and industry has different standards, but regardless of the workplace, you should aim for the most polished end of the spectrum. For instance, if you're applying to a financial or legal company, err on the side of too formal. Pick a nicely tailored skirt suit or pantsuit in dark colors over a crisp, white blouse. Keep jewelry and embellishments to a minimum, choose classic black pumps, and carry your resume in a classic leather briefcase.
For a young, hip media start-up, PR company, or anything fashion-related, it would be appropriate to show your flair for the latest trends, while still looking polished. Try an airy, light-colored button-down paired with a sleek pencil skirt in a contrasting hue for a color-blocked effect. Accessorize with a statement necklace, skinny belt, and colorful shoes. Carry your resume neatly and unwrinkled in a statement leather satchel in vivid tones that complement, not clash with, your outfit.
For any other company, a general outfit guideline to follow is: fitted blazer over a clean, unwrinkled button-down, tailored skirt or dress pants, accessorized with simple jewelry (or none at all), a professional tote, and classic streamlined heels or flats. Use your accessories for one or two pops of color to show personality. Overall, you just want to look put-together and clean, not like you just rolled out of bed and threw on what was in the hamper. Presenting a neat appearance will translate to being an organized, competent worker in your prospective employer's mind.
You may be the type who never gives a second thought to your hairstyle, but your tresses are an important detail not to be overlooked during an interview. How you wear your hair denotes a lot about your personality, and is integral in looking the part. Having neat, brushed hair pulled into a tidy ponytail makes a good impression at a conservative company like an investment bank; likewise, a layered cut with lots of volume and fresh highlights will score you points at a fashion and beauty magazine. For your second interview, don't be afraid to get a conservative blowout that combines style with formality. You want to show your potential employers that you care enough about the job to make an effort to look good. In general, a few hair rules to follow are: make sure your hair is clean and recently washed, keep it simple and out of your face, skip hair accessories, hats, tame any flyaway strands and don't show your roots.
Your beauty look is what rounds out your overall appearance. Believe it or not, prospective employers will be observing even the most minute details and gleaning from them. If you erred on the conservative side for your first interview (which you should have) you can go ahead and enhance your features a little more in this round, but still within reasonable boundaries. Unless you have blemishes or a pimple that sprouted overnight due to pre-interview nerves, skip the foundation and just go for concealer and a light powder. Choose neutral colors that complement your eye color and skin tone over bright, trendy colors. Skip anything glossy, shiny, or glittery, unless you don't want to be taken seriously. Get a manicure the day before for chip-free nails; either go with a safe neutral shade or choose a classic red. Your makeup routine can lead to many blunders, so give yourself extra time the morning before your interview. And do one last check before you step into the office to make sure nothing is smudging or melting.
Now that you have some guidelines for how to style yourself for your second interview, go make an unforgettable impression. When your prospective employer sees you looking polished and put-together, they're going to want to work with that smart, organized person underneath. As for the finishing touch to your interview look confidence. What you wear will mean nothing if you can't wear it well.