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"I was approached by Lucy Burrows, who was hands down the most genuine recruiter I've been contacted by while I've been looking for my next role. She didn't sound like she was speaking from a script, she listened and responded thoughtfully and asked my opinions throughout the process. Great work Lucy!"

M, Dryborough, Candidate

What to Wear to a Sales Interview in the Post-Covid Era

In the post-COVID era, the rules for what to wear to a sales job interview have changed.  When it comes to dressing for a sales interview, the key is still to look professional and polished.  While traditional business attire is still appropriate in many cases, there are now additional factors to consider.  Post-covid, the norm has to be more casual, and we've even had candidates rejected for software sales roles as their attire was considered too stuffy!

In this blog post, we'll look at what to wear to an interview in the post-COVID era and provide tips to help you make the right impression.

Video Interviews

First, it's essential to understand that many companies now conduct interviews remotely via video meetings.  This means that you need to consider how you will look on screen and in person.  You should avoid wearing clothing that is too bright or has a busy pattern, as this can be distracting on screen.  Solid colours are typically the best choice.

Personally, I think that you cannot go wrong with a shirt or blouse/top with a collar, and this can be a single coloured polo-shirt or similar.

Dressing for the Company Culture

Second, you should take the time to consider the company's culture and the industry in which they operate.  Suppose the company has a casual or creative culture. In that case, you may be able to get away with wearing more casual attire.  However, if the company has a more traditional culture or if you are interviewing for a position in a traditional industry, it's best to stick with more traditional business attire.

A gauge could be to look at what the staff are wearing in the website's 'About Us' or 'Our Team' section.  Also, ask your recruiter what they recommend based on their dealings with the employer. 

Another powerful tip is to call reception, say that you are interviewing with x hiring manager and ask them to recommend what to wear.  This technique will get back to the hiring manager and give you an edge before the interview has even taken place!

Professional and Polished

Third, you should consider the type of position you are applying for.  Suppose you are applying for a position in a customer-facing role. In that case, you should make sure that your clothing is appropriate for the type of customer you will be interacting with.  For example, suppose you are applying for a position selling products into high-end retail. In that case, you should wear appropriate clothing for that store.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's essential to make sure that you look professional and make sure that you don't have last night's dinner stains on your shirt!  You should also avoid wearing clothing that is too tight or too loose, as this can be distracting and make you look unprofessional.

Suppose you are interviewing for a position in a traditional industry, such as selling into banking, finance or legal. In that case, it's best to stick with more traditional business attire.  This typically includes a suit, dress shirt or blouse, and dress shoes.  Avoid wearing too casual clothing, such as jeans or trainers, as this can make you look unprofessional.

You should also make sure that your clothing is comfortable.  You want to be able to focus on the interview, not on how uncomfortable your clothes are.

In conclusion, what to wear to an interview in the post-COVID era is a complex question. In many ways, I preferred the ‘old-way’ of advising candidates to attend 'suited and booted' so they could never go wrong.

In the main, in the post-Covid era, for face-to-face meetings, I suggest suits no ties to men and 'smart casual' to women.  For video meetings, I recommend a collared shirt or blouse.  And, as long as you don't stand up during the meeting, what you wear below the screen is your choice!  However, remember the news presenter that stood up to reveal he was ‘suited and booted’ up top with shorts down below!

Finally, check out the firm's 'About Us' page and consider the company's culture, the industry in which they operate, the type of position you are applying for, and the comfort of your clothing.  In doing so, you will maximise your chances of making the right first impression and increase your chances of getting the job.

Date published: 3rd March 2024

Lucy Burrows, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Lucy Burrows

Lucy is a diligent and stealthily competitive recruiter passionate about delivering clients’ expectations and helping candidates perform their best in interviews.  She thrives on ensuring that the role is suitable for every candidate and hearing about the successes of her placements.  Her content is straightforward, easy-to-read advice focused on first interview tips.

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