Saturday 1 November 2014

How to Dress for Success at a Sales Interview

Let’s face it – interviews are a nerve-wracking experience at any time, with candidates being judged not just by what they say but also based on their appearance.  

The general rule of thumb is to dress in a manner that is professional, conservative, and appropriate to your prospective work environment then no one can make ‘gut judgements’ on you based simply upon appearance.  

      Corporate Sales:

Working in corporate sales requires a somewhat more formal version of business attire than a retail or call centre sales job would require. Employees who work in such settings often come into contact with clients and suppliers and will sometimes work in an office setting alongside senior management staff.  Therefore, the most appropriate attire for a job interview for this type of sales position includes dark suits with light shirts, dark ties, and formal shoes for men. Women should also dress conservatively, in dark two-piece business suits with a colour coordinated or neutral blouse and wear minimal jewellery. Any body art should be covered up and both men and women should present an overall well-groomed appearance.

      Telesales and Call Centre Sales:

Many applicants for sales positions at call centres or telesales jobs make the mistake of dressing too casually for their interview. However, despite the somewhat more informal work setting of most call centres, candidates for such sales positions still need to make a good impression on prospective employers. While applicants need not wear business suits to their interviews, they must still present a neat, professional experience.  Personally, I would recommend still wearing a suit if you own one; if not trousers/skirt and a smart shirt/blouse.  Then none can make judgements based upon the logo of your top or the brand of your chosen trainers.  Jewellery and make-up should still be kept to a minimum, and all facial piercings and tattoos should be concealed.

      Retail Sales:

Working on the sales floor of a retail outlet is a far different cry from working in corporate or telephone sales. Sales people are always in direct contact with the customers and have to maintain a professional appearance at all times that is in keeping with the tone and ambiance of the store. For instance, a sales assistant at Harvey Nichols will typically be required to dress on trend with the department they are looking to represent.  In contrast if the interview is with a more traditional department store, you should  dress more formally. What you should wear to a retail sales job therefore depends almost entirely on what type of company you are applying to work at.  For instance, a woman who wears no make-up for a sales job at a cosmetics store has little chance of being hired. Conversely, dressing in a manner that is overly fashion forward might not be the best move if you are interviewing for a job at a traditional department store.

If you are completely dumbfounded as to what to wear to your interview, take some time to research how employees at the company usually dress, either in person or by contacting someone in the HR department and simply ask what is acceptable/preferred.   

Some stores, such as John Lewis, also have a formal dress code which can help applicants narrow down their choices. Whatever outfit you choose to wear, it is important to make sure that your clothes are clean, pressed, and in good repair, and that you wear your clothes with confidence – after all, it is one trait that all good hiring managers are looking for.

1 comment:

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