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Dress the part - make a positive first impression

Dress the part - make a positive first impression

How should you present yourself to a potential new employer?

You want to make the best first impression possible when you are going for a job interview, which includes dressing the part – how do you know what to wear so you are presenting yourself in the best possible way?

Ask what to wear

It is perfectly acceptable to ask what to wear before an interview if you are unsure.  Your PN Personnel Recruitment Specialist will always brief you if the client has any specific requirements in this area, as we want you to present yourself in the best light.  Some jobs, particularly those with a front facing customer service element to them, will require a high level of presentation, and the employer will be expecting you to be well groomed.

Be clean

You and the clothes you are wearing need to be clean, before we even discuss what type of clothes you wear, wash yourself, your clothes, your hair and brush your teeth.  If you are a smoker, chew some gum before heading to an interview and remember to always responsibly dispose of any gum before entering the building.

Neat and tidy clothing

If you are interviewing for an office job, naturally you expect to dress up in some regard, whilst the position may not require a suit, it does make a good first impression.

But what about if you are a tradie or working in hospitality?  Your clothes should still be neat, clean pants or jeans with no rips or marks and a clean shirt/top. Smart casual is recommended, even if the role will have you working in overalls or a uniform.

Be comfortable

Overly tight, fitting clothes are not going to make you feel comfortable in an interview.  If you are wearing a jacket, make sure you have a suitable top or shirt underneath. Office environments can be warm, site offices on a hot day may not have airconditioning, these elements combined with a few nerves could make you warmer than you would expect.  It’s no fun sweating through an interview, so make sure all of your layers are acceptable.

Tattoos and piercings

Cover up or not cover up, take out or leave?  This is an area in which your Recruitment Specialist can offer advice and it does depend on the nature of the job you are applying for.  Many Kiwi businesses take a much more liberal approach to tattoos and piercings these days, but just as businesses differ, so do the style and size of tattoos and piercings so there is no one size fits all answer.

If your tattoo has cultural significance and is highly obvious let the interviewer know this.  If your tattoo is visually inappropriate, it is highly likely you could be asked to cover up. It is dependent on the job and the environment you are working within.


Jandals are for the beach and no matter whether you are going for work in an office or on a farm jandals are not acceptable. Clean covered shoes are best to present yourself, if it is work boots or even gumboots, give them a scrub, and if you are going indoors, be prepared to leave them at the door, therefore make sure you have a decent pair of socks underneath.


You’re looking good, all you need now is to smile!  Never underestimate the power of a smile, it goes a long way and always makes a positive first impression.


Robyn Bills

Robyn Bills

Robyn brings with her a wealth of local knowledge and connections. She has worked in a range of businesses and industries including; account management/sales (both locally and nationally), healthcare, media, real estate, manufacturing and NZ tourism. This gives Robyn the ability to draw on personal experience and apply these skills to your business or personal situation.

Phone 06 280 2401 Mobile 027 699 9077 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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(06) 356 6091 Fax: (06) 356 6071

53 Princess Street, Palmerston North 4410
PO Box 594, Palmerston North 4440


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