What to Wear to Nail Your Job Interview According to 7 Female CEOs

Charm your future employer with advice from these #GirlBosses.

What’s more nerve-wracking than going to a job interview? Dressing for a job interview. There’s no right and wrong when it comes to exactly what you should wear to make the absolute best first-impression with your possible future employer as there are multiple factors to take into account.

That’s why we asked seven powerful South African female CEOs, in different industries, to spill the tea on interview-dressing and provide their tips on making the best first impression in order to lock down your dream job! Scroll down for valuable info from these #GirlBosses.

What To Wear To Nail Your Job Interview According to 7 Female CEOs

1 Kirsty Chadwick

‘It is not only what you wear, but how you present yourself! In my opinion, in order to make a great first impression during a job interview, you need to dress professionally and wear clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable.’

‘Make sure you prepare well, know the organisation you’re meeting, their industry and the people who will be interviewing you. Plan ahead regarding what you are going to wear and be practical. And, first impressions aren’t limited to the clothing you wear! Make sure you believe in yourself, be authentic, and wear your best accessory yet, your smile.’

2 Julia Raphaely

‘Your appearance is very important when making a good first impression. In the first seconds of your meeting, you form an impression of someone (read Malcom Gladwell’s book ‘Blink’, which talks about how we make split-second judgments in the blink of an eye) and you build on your initial opinion from there. If someone shows up looking sloppy, then you start to wonder how much care they would take doing their job. If you look like you made a bit of effort from the start, it reinforces professionalism.’

‘I would say a good job interview outfit is smart but in line with a fashionable, cutting edge media business. It’s also important to me that someone has their own personal sense of style and owns it versus wearing what they think is ‘in fashion’ but looks terrible on them. Heels or flats are both fine as long as the look all works together. Nails should be well manicured. I wouldn’t wear a skirt that is too short or a top that is too revealing. Most importantly, you should avoid wearing anything that makes you feel uncomfortable as this just adds more pressure on you; pressure you don’t need when you’re interviewing!’

‘And don’t forget – arrive early for the interview. My tips for those who are starting out in the working world are to: find a mentor, be prepared to do anything, be proactive, be prepared and be willing to learn something new every day.’

3 Paula Hulley


‘Confidence is key to making a good first impression during a job interview and feeling good about yourself is a big part of that! Always be prepared and make sure you have enough sleep the night before.’

‘For an interview – you want to ensure you can focus on the right things, such as articulating your answers and putting your best self forward. You don’t want to be distracted with an uncomfortable pair of shoes or a tricky garment. The perfect outfit for me leans towards a fresh clean shirt, suit pants and heels, or a black dress that falls at the knees with black or beige heels. I favour black, white and navy.’

‘Self-expression is a big part of the interview, and I talk a lot with my hands – so it is always best not to have too many things to carry or worry about holding – and to have clean, cut and polished nails. Having less to carry also looks organised, efficient and in control – how many times do we ever see a guy balancing two bags, car keys and a laptop as they walk into a meeting? Never!’

4 Zakiyyah Smailovic

‘First impressions are everything! Being well-groomed is essential as you are not only representing yourself but you will potentially be representing the company that is interviewing you. So make sure your outfit is bomb! Always arrive with clean and neat hair. I think a good interview outfit in my industry would be a cute shift dress with a pair of chic heels and earrings. Accessories are a game changer!’

‘When dressing for an interview don’t forget to: dress appropriately, make sure your dress or skirt is not too short or too tight, do not wear anything see-through and wear natural make up that is not too OTT. My tips on nailing that first impression is to do research on the company before, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, put your social media accounts on private because when we research you we really don’t want to see your drunk party pics and most importantly – be confident, be yourself and don’t forget to SLAY!’

5 Jemima-Faye Goodall

‘It’s easy to forget how much of an impact your physical appearance has on someone who knows little to nothing about you. While I am a huge advocate of dressing for comfort, it’s important not to discount how nice it feels to meet someone who has clearly made an effort before coming to see you.’

‘My industry is pretty chilled so I would say a great interview look would be a casual pair of slacks or trousers, or a well-fitted pair of jeans, a nice blouse with long, short or capped sleeves and statement pumps or leather loafers. Carry a laptop bag or a neat shoulder bag. Put your hair in a neat up-do, or down with your hair clipped back or off your face. Leave the costume jewellery at home for your first meeting – a nice watch, a classic ring or two, and simple earrings will do the trick. Let who you are and what you have to say be the main focus of your initial meeting. Interview no-gos? Uncomfortable shoes, fabrics that don’t hold sweat or heat well and wrinkled clothing!’

‘”Treat every job as if it is your dream job.” Take pride in every little thing you do, in every price of work you produce, even if it is not your forever-job. Not only do you not know whom you might impress (or disappoint) but not taking pride in your work shines through no matter who you’re working for (or with) and it is very difficult to undo someone’s impression of you.’

6 Matsi Modise

‘First impressions last the longest. How you present yourself speaks volumes about the person you are and the person you aspire to be. Always strive to look like a million bucks! My perfect interview outfit will include bold colours, and this talks to my personality. A well-fitted, custom designed shift dress, comfortable pump heels, studded earrings and my watch. In a professional setting, less is more. Your outfit should not be too busy but rather simple and stylish. Always keep it classy!’

7 Tamarin Aubrey

‘Your appearance as you enter a room plays a major role in your first impression. I was once interviewed by one of Ralph Lauren’s Senior Directors and he politely told me that for my next interview with HR, I should consider wearing one less accessory. It hurt but hey, someone’s got to tell you. I should have listened to Coco!’

‘Always do some research about the company that you are being interviewed by. I was once interviewed for an assistant merchandise position by the Head of HR for Urban Outfitters, and I felt like a dork when I arrived looking super extra whilst everyone else was living their best life in sneakers. The fashion industry is ever-changing but I believe you can never go wrong with a well-tailored blazer, a great pair of denims, and a pair of your favourite boots. Add two or three accessories to polish it off, your bag being one of them. And, don’t forget – be yourself, everyone else is taken.’

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