A reader writes:
I graduated last year and thus have little work experience (and job hunting experience!). I was recently called to a group interview where all I was given was a name tag. I was then observed during a group activity to see if I performed well. I sent them a thank-you note after the interview and was called up for a second interview.
I have several sets of work dresses, tops and pants, but I prefer to wear a long black dress as I felt that was the most formal of my outfits. However, I am concerned that should I wear the same dress again (freshly laundered), my interviewers will feel I have a limited wardrobe. Personally, I feel this is a strange concern as there were so many other candidates and it cannot be possible that the HR team has memorised each outfit. Nonetheless, I want to do my best for every interview and being in a favourite outfit does bolster my confidence and poise.
Wear a different outfit.
It’s not so much that your interviewers will be concerned that you have a limited wardrobe; if they’re reasonable people, they don’t care. It’s more just about complying with normal business conventions — which, yes, dictate a different outfit for a second interview. And also, when interviewing, you don’t want your clothes stand out for any reason — whether it’s because they’re inappropriate or because they look awfully familiar or whatever.You want the focus on you, not on your clothes.
And while it’s doubtful that anyone would reject the best candidate for the job just because she wore the same outfit to both interviews, you’re still better off wearing something different.
By the way, I’m a little wary of “a long black dress” for an interview in general. Typically, you want to wear a suit — or at least something with a suit jacket. This doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of money; you can go to a secondhand store and find something that fits well for very little.