Business casual is great, right? Last week I was interviewed by CBS radio talk-show host George Russell about a very interesting study which showed that dressing casually for work may make you feel more comfortable, but it will not help you perform better. In fact, your mom was right – you should dress for success!
What you wear really does influence how your brain operates. A new study published in Social Psychological & Personality Science found that students who dressed in formal business attire experienced significantly higher levels of abstract thinking and feelings of power and inclusiveness. Just as body language is a two-way interaction, so is the impression you make based on how you dress. Your style not only communicates to others, but also to your own brain. This study shows once again that if you really need to feel sharp and powerful, dress the part.
How should you dress when you are interviewing for a career position? If you want the job, dress like an expert in the field. I have a 97% success rate in coaching high-level executives to win offers for positions from Director to CEO. I also coach college grads seeking their first career positions or acceptances into top grad schools with a 95% success rate. But whether you’re a top executive or a new grad, what you wear creates an instant impression for the interviewer way before you open your mouth. In fact, according to another recent study, 85% of hiring execs have made their decision within the first 4 minutes of the interview. How you look is a major part of the first impression. If you don’t make it over that hurdle, your chances of winning an offer are slim.
It may seem like common sense to dress appropriately for the position you’re seeking, but there was a recent buzz on Twitter when a young female programmer vented because, after acing her phone interview, she was told she didn’t get the job based on how she was dressed. This woman was simply not dressed the way her interviewer expected a programmer to be dressed, and she lost the job opportunity. Now this new study shows that what you wear not only impacts how the interviewer sees you, but casual clothing actually diminishes how powerful you feel and decreases your ability to think abstractly.