As anyone who’s been through the wringer will tell you, going to job interviews can be stressful, verging on soul-destroying. Not only do you have to show up looking as fresh as a daisy but you are very often expected to prove that you are an apt, capable human being who is as far from an axe-wielding murderer as Mother Teresa.

Indeed, given the short time you have to prove yourself, you’d think that most people would make a huge effort with their appearance, right? Well, apparently not.

When I was on the job interview circuit a few years ago, I sat in my fair share of waiting rooms and the things I saw and didn’t see pretty much deserve their own book. One incident, however, really does stick out in my memory.

I was interviewing for some marketing role at yet another company and despite the fact that it wasn’t exactly a prize of a job, the corridors were lined with people looking each other up and down and sizing up the competition. I had had a rough morning and was quietly playing on my phone when a woman staggered into the waiting area, clearly drunk and wearing what looked suspiciously like the previous night’s party dress. She saw all of us waiting there, took one wide-eyed look and sat on the first available chair where she promptly fell asleep.

Ultimately, it all comes down to dressing for the job you think you want, rather than the lack of job you have

Of course, while this is an extreme case, I can’t even count the number of times people showed up to a job interview wearing jeans and a T-shirt or a flimsy summer dress because they were being interviewed for a ‘creative role’.

The reality is that despite the fact that many would have us believe otherwise, first impressions do count and unless you’re interviewing to be a lady of the night at a members’ only club, it pays to attempt to dress conventionally.

If you’re at a loss as to what to wear, just stick to a plain dark skirt with matching blazer, a white blouse and low-heeled court shoes.

Since the only thing that should stick out in your interview is how professional you are and how good you would be at your prospective job, go easy on the make-up too and keep it as natural as possible.

For those of you struggling with the concept of what natural means (and indeed there seem to be many more that I previously thought), blue eyelids, brown lipstick and false nails would be better off used at an X Factor audition rather than on a company floor.

Ultimately, it all comes down to dressing for the job you think you want, rather than the lack of job you have. Leave your pyjamas at home.

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