Tips for Dressing for Job Interview Success

Posted on 2019/04/29 at 8:50 am

An interviewer’s first impression is often a lasting one, so the way you present yourself during an interview is important, and while some outfit no-nos are clear (always, always stay away from denim), some guidelines may be more subtle. Read below to find out why your appearance matters and get recommendations on appropriate attire during job interviews.

Dress Your Best When Interviewing

Does it make a difference how you dress for an interview? In many cases, it does. In a conservative business climate, appearances do matter. In other environments, it isn’t as important. For example, attire for a summer job interview or a startup job interview will be less formal, but it does make sense to dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization.

If you’re in doubt about how to dress for an interview, it is best to err on the side of conservatism. It is also much better to be overdressed than underdressed (or undressed). If you’re not sure, check with the person who scheduled the interview and ask.

According to Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics, 55% of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look. So while your outfit may seem like a shallow concern compared to your experience and ideas, what you wear makes a difference to how interviewers will assess you as a candidate.

Zoller shared some tips on how to look your best, without necessarily spending a lot of money. Here’s a quick look at the basics:

Women’s Professional Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Moderate shoes
  • Limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Tan or light hosiery
  • Sparse makeup and perfume
  • Manicured nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Men’s Professional Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • White long sleeve shirt
  • Conservative tie
  • Dark socks, professional shoes
  • Very limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Go easy on the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

More Ways to Ensure You’re Dressed Appropriately

As you can see, the guidelines can be more complicated for women. Appropriate interview attire for men is pretty straight-forward, and the dividing lines between business casual and professional business attire are demarcated. Along with choosing an interview outfit, women must also style their hair and select an interview-appropriate bag.

Interviewers of any gender should stay away from denim — jeans are never a good choice for an interview. Unless you are applying for a position in the fashion industry, drawing attention to your clothes is best avoided. The best interview outfit is clean, well-fitting, appropriate for the company’s culture, and not attention-getting. After your interview, you want people to be talking about your experience and your ideas — not your flashy tie, sparkly shoes, or too-tight pants.

Make sure to wear deodorant, brush your teeth, and comb your hair. Bring along breath mints if you won’t be able to brush your teeth before the interview (but make sure not to eat breath mints or chew gum during the conversation). Keep scented items — cologne, perfume, and aftershave — to a minimum.

Additional Information

  • Interview EtiquetteReview these job interview etiquette tips for before, during, and after a job interview, to ensure that your job interview etiquette is up to speed and you’re making the best impression on the interviewer.
  • Most Common Interview Mistakes to AvoidHere are the most common interview mistakes job seekers make and how to avoid them.
  • Interview Questions and AnswersThe key to successful interviewing is to review these typical interview questions and prepare your answers. Also be ready with questions for the interviewer – here’s a list.
  • Winning Interview SkillsSo, you’ve landed an interview for a seemingly wonderful job! Now what? Here’s how to ace the interview.