Congratulations on landing a job interview. While you will want to learn everything you can about the company before your interview, you should also choose the proper interview attire.
Choosing the right clothes helps you to make a powerful impression at any level, but you will want to learn the different types of interviews and what to wear to each one so that your wardrobe does not stop you from getting the perfect job.
Read this post to learn what to wear to an interview, from the head of multinational companies to small businesses located around the corner. I will provide you with a list of things to keep in mind and things you should avoid, along with specific clothing recommendations and interview outfits for women and men.
There’s not a second to waste, so be sure to read this entire post now.
What is an interview?
An interview is a structured conversation where one party is trying to find a suitable worker that is trained or can be trained. It is the chance for the applicant to show off their skills and their personality. Therefore, it is like going on a first date, and everything you say, do, and wear will be judged.
You can think of a job interview as a contest. Perhaps hundreds of people have put in their applications or left their resumes. Yet, you were lucky enough to rise to the top of the list. Now is your time to shine.
Take time to research the company before the interview. While you are doing your research, look at how their managers dress. During the interview, you will want to dress for the job you want to have one day, even if you are currently interviewing to be the toilet scrubber.
If the job is for a local company, reading their social media feed can help you identify where the company is now and where it wants to be in the future. LinkedIn can be an excellent asset for national companies because it allows you to see if you know anyone the company currently employs.
Before you go to the interview, even if it is online, your personal grooming should be immaculate. Therefore, it may be time to get a haircut and a pedicure. If the job involves working with food, wear your hair up in a manner that indicates that you are already aware of industry-standard rules.
Where possible, learn the type of interview beforehand, and this will allow you to focus on what the managers are looking for during the interview process.
Types of Interviews
Companies conduct multiple types of interviews, and even the same company may perform different kinds of interviews based on the level you are applying for within the company.
The traditional interview is the most common type of interview, and it is usually conducted between yourself and one or more managers from the company. During this interview, the manager asks the questions, and you provide answers. Then, the manager will usually allow you to ask questions. The same questions are asked of every candidate, with the answers being judged by the managers. Normally, these interviews occur in an office environment.
Usually, there is no specific job opening currently available during an informational interview, but do not let that stop you. Shine during this interview, and the company will find the resources to bring you onboard before another company hires you. These interviews are often more of a chance to share information about the company and yourself.
Before these interviews, concentrate on discovering what makes the company unique and show your understanding during the interview. This is also a great interview format to show why the company needs your special skill set to move forward.
Phone interviews are traditionally used to narrow the list of candidates down even further before calling some for a second in-person interview. They can also be used when travel is impossible to locate ideal candidates. You can expect these interviews to be short.
Often, the main questions are about salaries, start dates, and other requirements that the company feels they need to meet. Some companies use these interviews to determine who is interested in their company. So do your homework ahead of time to understand what the company is looking for in their ideal candidate.
These interviews are often held in place of traditional in-person interviews when travel is difficult. You can expect to be interviewed by one or more management team members in a question-and-answer format. Since these interviews are conducted using technology, ensure you have a great setup and a reliable connection.
In addition, ensure you will not be interrupted during the interview. Additionally, you should do your homework to ask and answer questions during this interview as if it were a traditional interview.
This is the favorite interview style if you will be working with clients. Be sure to use your best manners, especially when dealing with the waitstaff. You should remain friendly at all times. One or more managers may try to provoke you into an argument, so be sure to keep your emotions in check.
Follow the lead of the others at your table when it comes to what you order to eat and drink. Do not get drunk during this interview because this can cause the company to view you as a liability.
During a group interview, you will be interviewed simultaneously as several other people. Make it a point to connect to every person in the room. You may receive a task to complete during this interview. Try to position yourself so that you are the project leader and solicit everyone’s input.
The main goal of these interviews is to see how well you can work with people, so quickly access who needs encouragement and who you need to try to quiet down. Avoid conflict with others being interviewed while getting the task completed.
As the name implies, this is a second interview, usually following a telephone or video interview. Many companies severely limit the number of people invited to these interviews, so you are a top candidate when you get invited. Concentrate on learning everything you can about the company and the people interviewing you. Use your network to identify any mutual contacts, and see if they will put in a good word for you. Additionally, your grooming and clothes need to be ultra-professional during this interview.
You will provide concrete examples of past work during these interviews, so come prepared with numbers, projects, and other details clearly outlined in your mind. Your answers should describe the situation, the task you were given, your actions, and the results.
Additionally, you may be given a behavior test, which is scored according to a standardized scale. In addition, often something unusual will occur during this interview to test your ability to react calmly.
During a case interview, you will be given a specific scenario and asked to form a company game plan to solve it. These interviews can be led by you or by the interviewer. When you lead them, the interviewer seldom intervenes to assist you as you come up with a definite answer to a question, such as why a business’s profits are falling.
Many smaller scenarios are given in a client-led interview, and you need to nail each one perfectly. Ensure you use language that industry insiders use and follow any standardized procedures.
In these interviews, you will get a specific task to complete, and your success at completing the job is likely to determine your hire rate. Ensure that you read the instructions carefully and ask any questions before beginning. These interviews can be a solo interview or a group interview.
If working in a group setting, make sure that everyone has an active role in the completed project. When working by yourself, ensure that you leave time, in the end, to go over your project and compare it to the guidelines before submitting your work.
A panel interview is where you and all the other top candidates are asked a question and given a turn to answer the question. In this case, it helps if you can identify the other candidates ahead of time to enunciate your strengths while subtly pointing out their weaknesses.
Even if you cannot get this knowledge ahead of time, you can still often gleam weaknesses from their answers and events that affected your industry. Remember that your answers may be timed, so stick to the guidelines. Take a quick second to organize your thoughts before beginning your response to come out as a well-rounded answer to the specific question.
Why is it important to dress properly for an interview?
Dressing correctly for an interview is a sign of respect for the person interviewing you and the organization where you hope to work. It serves as a first introduction to you, and you want to represent yourself in the best light possible.
In many cases, an interview is the first time that the person with enough power to hire you gets a chance to meet you. Show respect to them by dressing in your best attire. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure it is positive.
Secondly, dressing well for an interview is a sign of respect for yourself. Even if the company decides to hire someone else, you never know when that company will have another job that is a perfect match for you, or the interviewer has moved on to another company that needs your skillset. Respect yourself enough to dress well.
Dressing well, including proper hygiene, is also a way that people judge your ability to pay attention to details. Therefore, you should ensure that your clothes are neat and well pressed. Regardless of the position, paying attention to details is critical, and this is the perfect opportunity to show that you have thought about the details of your outfit ahead of time.
Every experienced interviewer has a horror story to tell of a person who was underdressed or ill-prepared for an interview. Do not give them fodder for their stories when gathered with other managers. If you foul up one time too severely, then you will live in that interviewer’s memory forever.
We will cover specific clothing suggestions for women and men in different scenarios in the following two chapters. Therefore, before you start getting dressed for an interview, you will want to read and follow these suggestions.
In some cases, that will be business formal. In this environment, suits are essential. Your skirt should come at least to your knees and end above your calves. It should be conservative color, such as black or dark blue. You should wear formal shoes that allow you to walk easily. Additionally, you should keep your accessories to a minimum. If you need to wear a coat, choose a formal one, like a trench or a wool jacket.
Other workplaces are a bit more relaxed, and you will want to wear a professional business outfit. You should still stick to conservative colors and make sure that your knees are covered. If your skirt has a slit, it should be in the front or the back. You also have more choice in footwear as you can wear closed-toe flats. You should still keep your accessories to a minimum. If you need a jacket, choose one appropriate for your outfit, such as a trench or pea coat.
Numerous businesses have gone to a business casual dress code for many decades. When interviewing at one of these companies, you can wear a collared shirt or a nice sweater and dress pants. Try to stick to conservative colors, although there is more leeway. You may also opt for a conservative dress or a skirt. Choose footwear that allows you to move easily, but leave the athletic shoes at home. You can wear almost any coat style, but ensure that it is clean.
Smart business casual is often found in startups and small businesses. In this case, the owner or manager defines the dress code. If you are interviewing at one of these locations, it is usually best to visit the location before your interview and see what the managers are wearing. If that is not possible and you have no contacts within the organization, consider wearing a conservative suit or dress along with a pair of dress shoes. Opt for a bracelet and necklace set and wear stud earrings.
Business formal interview outfit ideas
Business formal is the highest level of business clothes, and women in C+ suites in large companies usually wear it. You will want to wear your best business clothes to this interview.
Black long jacket
A long jacket suit dress is the perfect attire. The longer jacket on this option helps you appear taller, making you appear more powerful. Choose a black dress with a high neckline. The suit coat can stop even with your dress or come just a little below it.
Selecting a black dress with a back zipper helps to keep this look very conservative. Opt for a pair of black pumps with a conservative heel. Consider carrying a black clutch. Wear a simple gold tennis bracelet and gold stud earrings since you want the attention to be on your answers and not your accessories.
A black pencil skirt, black blazer, and white blouse are a terrific option for a formal business interview. Select a pencil skirt that comes a little below your knees. If it has a slit, it should be in the front or the back and not come above mid-thigh when you sit down.
The waistband should be finished and not an elastic one. Select an option that does not require a belt. Your black blazer should be very conservative. Therefore, avoid showy options or other noticeable design details. Wear a button-down white blouse under the long-sleeved blazer.
Black one-button jacket
A one-button jacket paired with a white blouse and a black skirt is a great business formal outfit. Consider a blazer with a high collar and waist flap pockets. A white Oxford blouse is a great option. Look for options that will not easily wrinkle if you need to travel for the interview.
Again, choose a black pencil skirt made of high-quality cotton or polyester. You can pair this outfit with a black square-toe pump with a chunky heel. Select a simple ring in silver with a natural gemstone and a silver chain necklace.
A skirt suit is a perfect option. Choose one in a very conservative color, with black often being preferred. You may want one that has at least three buttons up its front and lets the black underneath the notched lapel just peaks through. Create contrast by choosing a small pearl necklace that follows the outline of your outfit. Then, choose to wear black high-heels with it.
Business professional interview outfit ideas
A professional business outfit is not as formal as a formal business outfit so that you can wear dress pants and conservative pantsuits. It would help if you still stuck with very conservative colors, but you have a little more leeway to add deep browns and blues.
Ensure that nothing you wear detracts from your answers by choosing conservative clothing styles. You can also trade in your heels for flats as long as they are closed-toed if you desire. You also have more freedom in your jewelry and handbag selections.
A dark brown blazer and a matching pencil skirt with a white dress blouse are excellent options for a professional business interview. Choose a blazer with two buttons that you can easily button with front pockets. Put it on over your favorite white blouse.
Select a brown pencil skirt with a front or back slit to make movement easier. This is the perfect outfit to match with a pair of ballet flat shoes, so moving gets even easier. Complete the look with gold jewelry with a matching brown citrine necklace and earrings.
A monochromatic navy-blue pantsuit is a fantastic choice for a professional business interview. Consider one with a stand collar, and you can skip the necklace. Select an option with two hip pockets so that you do not need to carry a purse into the meeting. Pair it with a matching blue skirt with a bit of flair and an artic blue blouse that buttons down the front. Complete the look with turquoise jewelry to create an outfit that will impress.
A charcoal gray blazer with decorative gold buttons down its front and a matching charcoal gray pencil skirt make a great business professional outfit. Pair it with a blue silk pullover blouse with a high collar and a pair of charcoal gray pumps. Take the outfit to the next level by wearing stud earrings in the same color as the buttons on the front of the blazer. Depending on the blouse, you may want to wear a simple pearl necklace to draw attention to your face.
A single-breasted navy-blue suitcoat with a matching skirt is a terrific option. Consider pairing it with pearl stud earrings, a pearl bracelet, and a pearl choker necklace to add some contrast to your outfit.
Navy-blue pumps are a fantastic shoe option, especially in group and behavior interviews, where you may need to move around. While pantyhose are no longer mandatory, you may still want to wear them with this outfit as they will help create the classical look.
Business casual interview outfit ideas
The term business casual for women varies somewhat between companies, but it is better to overdress a little than to underdress for an interview if you do not know for sure. At the same time, you can usually wear dress trousers to a casual business interview.
Flat shoes or shoes with a bit of heel would be appropriate, but you will want to avoid wearing tennis shoes. Additionally, you have more leeway in your jewelry, but avoid wearing too much or too bold pieces because you want the attention to remain on your answers and not your jewelry.
A light blue chiffon blouse is a great choice. If you are a little short, consider a tie in the front where the ends hang down the front, which also eliminates the need to wear a necklace. Unless it is scorching, go with a long-sleeved option.
Wear it with a pair of black dress pants. Choose a pair that rises high enough that you do not have to worry about the back when you sit down. This outfit looks superb when worn with ankle-high dress boots. Since you are wearing long-sleeves and a shirt with a tie, you can have some fun with a ring and your earrings, but do not go too bold.
A maroon ribbed knit dress with long sleeves that stops slightly below your knee is a great business casual interview outfit. Choose one with a side slit that stops a little below your fingertips.
This is a fun dress to wear with a colorful scarf wrapped around your neck. Think about choosing a beige and black one. Then, wear a pair of beige pumps in a matching color. This outfit screams for you to wear your favorite gold loop earrings and a fun vintage gold ring.
An off-white sweater dress with a brown belt is another fantastic business casual interview outfit. Choose one that comes down to your knees and pair it with high-top boots that are the same color as the belt.
If you choose a dress with few design details, you can have fun with your jewelry. Blue topaz options are excellent choices. So consider wearing a matching set of a tennis-style bracelet, a small statement necklace, and stud earrings. A matching crossbody bag is ideal with this outfit.
A plum cardigan, a white blouse and brown dress pants make an ideal outfit for a casual business interview. Think about choosing a cardigan with large pockets, and you can lock your purse in your car trunk during the interview. Choosing a white blouse with a tie in the front can help you look taller and slenderer, and it also eliminates the need to worry about a necklace.
When choosing brown pants, opt for those cut to fit your body shape well. If the pants require a belt, opt for one with a yellowish tint to it and wear the same shoes. You may also want to wear yellow-gold jewelry with this outfit.
Smart business casual outfit ideas
You have many more options when dressing for an interview in a business with a smart business casual environment. You should make sure that your clothes are clean with no holes or rips.
Remember that they are looking for an employee that will represent their business well. So it is still a good idea to dress for the job you want one day instead of the current opening. Pay attention to what their managers are wearing if you can visit ahead of your interview.
Consider wearing a pair of khaki pants in a tailored cut with a crisply pressed maroon button-down shirt. If you have long hair, this is the perfect time to put it up in a fancy ponytail and add a gold hair accessory.
Accentuate the khaki color by wearing some gold jewelry. If you need to wear a belt with your khaki pants, choose a thin brown one with a modest buckle. Choose a pair of maroon flats to wear on your feet.
A pair of black dress pants with pockets is a fantastic choice for an interview. Pair it with a white Henley top and your favorite twill blazer. You can opt to wear black dress boots with this outfit or a pair of flats matching one of the colors in the twill coat. This is a fantastic look to carry a black patent-leather purse with a short handle. Add some jewelry matching the colors in the twill jacket for a look that will impress.
A sheath dress is a fabulous choice for a smart casual business interview. Choose a natural fabric one that hits about the knee in a neutral color, such as beige. Then, wear it with a colorful statement necklace and matching earrings.
Since this is a casual business environment, it is the perfect time to wear large hoop earrings. Add a colorful belt that is a complimentary color to your statement necklace. Then, opt for a pair of pumps that either match the color of the necklace or the color of the belt, helping to pull your outfit together.
A long wrap sweater in a neutral color is a great option, especially during cooler weather. Wrap the sweater tightly around your body and tie it in the back. Choose to wear a pullover shirt that is the same color underneath. Wear it over a pair of black dress jeans that end about your ankle.
Then, wear your favorite pair of black ankle-high boots with this look. You can go many different directions with your jewelry, but one possibility is to wear a long necklace that drapes around your neck several times and a pair of dangle oval earrings.
Keep reading to learn even more tips about what to wear when you want to ace an interview. I will also be including some fashion mistakes that you will want to be sure to avoid.
After all, knowing what not to do can often be as important as knowing what to do. Making a great first impression through choosing the right clothes is a great way to ace an interview.
If you were to step back in time, these would be about the only two categories you would find, but today, many companies have become even more relaxed and have a business casual dress code. Finally, startups and small businesses often have a smart business casual dress code. Recognizing the differences is key to dressing appropriately for an interview.
Business formal interview outfit ideas
Business formal dress codes are the most traditional dress codes, and you will need to wear a suit and a white dress shirt to these interviews. There is very little room to be original or to wear something else. Successful financial and insurance firms are where you are most likely to encounter this dress code.
They are slowly being phased out but do not count on it during the interview process. After all, it is far better to overdress for an interview than to underdress for one because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
A black three-piece suit with a long-sleeve white dress shirt and black tie is an excellent choice for a formal business interview. You will want to wear a white pocket square in a presidential fold, along with minimalistic cufflinks.
Be sure to wear a black tie that is normal width and length. Choose a black belt with a gold or silver buckle that is small. You should also wear black Oxfords and black dress socks. Be sure your hair is neatly trimmed. Wear the suitcoat and the vest both buttoned.
A black regular-fit three-piece suit with a long-sleeved white dress shirt is another great option. You will want to opt for a silk white pocket square and silver cufflinks. Pick out a black tie that is solid in color. Choose a black belt with a silver or gold small buckle. The belt should not have any design on it. Select black wingtips and black dress socks.
Another option is a dark blue three-piece suit with a long-sleeved white dress shirt. Select a white silk pocket square and cufflinks. Choose a standard-width tie that matches your suit color. You should wear a black belt with a minimalistic buckle. You will want to wear black oxfords and black dress socks.
Business professional interview outfit ideas
A professional business interview requires you to wear a suit coat or blazer. In addition to wearing a blazer, you also get a few more color choices, but you will still want to stick to conservative colors. Conservative colors include navy blue, gray, brown, and other earth tones.
You also get more freedom in your tie color choice, but you should stick with a standard width and not wear a bow tie. Some people have an adverse reaction to bow ties, and you do not want anything standing in your way of acing the job interview. You will also want to wear dress shoes and a conservative belt. It depends on the other choices if you need a pocket square or cufflinks.
A dark brown three-piece suit is an excellent option for a professional business interview outfit. The pants should have a high waist and fit you well through the thighs. Pair it with a white dress shirt. It is still best to wear cufflinks that are mostly hidden.
Pick out a deep red tie and a matching pocket square. You should opt for a brown belt, ideally matching the color of the suit. Then, choose brown oxfords that are just a shade lighter than the suit.
Another great choice is a navy-blue blazer. You will still need to leave your jeans at home, so pair it with a pair of dark-blue dress pants and a light-blue long-sleeved dress shirt for a look that is sure to impress. A solid-colored tie is best.
Choose trousers that come up to your natural waist and wear them with a brown belt with a minimalistic gold buckle. Opt for one with the same color as your pants to create a knock-out monochromatic look. Wear blue dress socks and well-polished brown oxfords or wingtips without any design on their front.
You may also want to consider wearing a three-piece wool suit in black to this interview. Choose a suit coat that has two-or-three buttons down the front. Select a black dress shirt and a red and black necktie. Wear the suit and vest both buttoned up all the way.
If the suit coat has a breast pocket, opt for a red pocket square. You should wear this option with a black belt and black lace-up dress shoes. The addition of the red takes this from a business formal to a business professional interview outfit. If you do not look good in red, substitute a bolder blue, like an Egyptian blue.
A charcoal suit coat can also be an excellent option for a professional business interview. Choosing one with flap pockets lets you tuck away necessities while still looking sharp. You can decide between one with a narrow or regular lapel. Wear high-waisted charcoal dress pants with a black belt with a gold buckle that does not have a design.
Consider options with a flat front and trouser pockets. A white long-sleeved shirt is the best bet. Then, wear a deep red tie with a gold tie clasp. Wear the suitcoat buttoned so that only the top of the tie shows.
You may also want to consider wearing a navy-blue suit coat with a notched lapel. While you can wear a single-breasted one, make a better impression by choosing a double-breasted option.
Then, pair it with high-waisted black dress pants. Consider opting for a white tailored dress shirt that buttons down the front. Wear a black tie of medium width. You will also want to opt for a black belt and black shoes.
Business casual interview outfit ideas
While you have a lot more freedom in a casual business workplace to wear what you love, that is not the case during an interview. In the next chapter, I will have more to say about wearing jeans to an interview, but you should not wear them to a business casual interview. Additionally, polo shirts and most turtlenecks are not acceptable.
Instead, opt for a business suit, button-down shirt, and a tie. While you will not want to wear jeans, you can wear chinos to these interviews. If you make this choice, choose ones that do not sage and come up at least to your natural waist. You should wear them with a belt. Whatever decision you make, avoid wearing shorts to an interview.
A dark-blue business suit with a peak lapel is an excellent choice for a business casual for men attire. Choose an option that fits well and that you can easily button using the two-or-three buttons down its front.
Selecting an option with flap pockets allows you to tuck away your car keys and other necessities securely. This is an excellent option to wear with a white shirt and khaki pants. Wear this outfit with brown oxfords or wingtips. Choose a tie with a subtle design that is the same color as your suit coat.
A dark-blue pinstripe suit is a fantastic option for a casual business interview. Choose to wear it with flat-front black trousers and a light pink button-down shirt. Pair the top with a tie that has blue and black in it without being too bold. A regimental tie pattern is a great choice. If your suit coat has a breast pocket, choose a pink or white pocket square. Wear this outfit with brown oxfords or Chelsea boots.
Especially if the weather is colder, a V-neck sweater under a sports coat is a fantastic option. Choose a dark gray suit coat and wear a dark green sweater under it. Select a sweater that hugs your body tightly and does not have any texture. Then, opt for a black tie and a white dress shirt.
Only the top of your tie should show, and wear the shirt buttoned down at the collar. Always tuck in your shirt bottom and choose pieces that fit well together. Wear the outfit over black dress trousers. You can wear black Oxford shoes or Chelsea boots with this outfit and dark dress socks.
You can also wear a three-piece suit to a business casual interview. Select one with attractive design details, such as a vest chain. Choose a dark blue classic-cut suit coat with a matching vest and pair it with a denim-colored banded-collar shirt. This allows you to skip the tie.
Then, wear it with matching pants. Receive bonus points if the sports coat, vest, and dress pants are herringbone or choose pants with a faint plaid or stripe design. This is a fantastic option to wear with a black belt with a silver buckle and a silver wristwatch.
Especially in warmer weather, you can wear a button-down shirt with a vest over it and a tie. Choose a gray-lined linen vest and a white short-sleeve dress shirt. The best shirts for this look will have extra room on the shoulders.
Wear it with a bright red solid-colored tie. Wear gray dress pants that match the vest on the bottom. This is a fantastic choice to wear with a brown belt and matching brown lace-up boots.
Smart business casual outfit ideas
Since smart business casual has many different definitions, it is best to get a better description of the dress code before attending an interview. A great way to do that is to send a quick email to the person who invited you to the interview or give them a call on the phone.
If you still have doubts, step up your game and wear a business casual wardrobe. While dress khaki pants are acceptable, I still do not endorse wearing blue jeans to an interview. There are several types of blazers that you may want to base your outfit around, but a blazer is not your only choice. Wearing a vest without a suit coat is one possibility. You may also want to wear a three-piece suit, but wear a non-conservative color, such as bright red or royal purple.
A gray cotton twill blazer can be a terrific option. Pair it with a cotton button-down dress shirt with the same gray color in it in a fun paisley or plaid design. Opt for a pair of gray slim-fit dress pants.
Choosing options with slant pockets gives you plenty of room to carry your essentials. Finish the look with a pair of brown brogues. This is a terrific option to wear with a flat cap on a cool fall or early spring day.
A gray button-down shirt goes well with black pants for a casual business interview. There’s no need for a sports coat or blazer as long as you choose a shirt that fits you well. Select one with a stand-up collar so that you do not need a tie. When picking out a shirt, choose one that has a subtle print.
Anything too bold is inappropriate for an interview. Slim-cut black dress pants are a terrific choice for a casual business interview. Wear black dress socks. A black belt is usually best. Whatever you decide, your belt color and shoe color should match. You may want to wear a pair of ankle-high boots, although you can wear boat shoes.
Consider wearing a button-down shirt with a deep V-neck in a pretty brown and orange design. Wear it over a brown tee made from a natural fiber, like cotton. Choose to wear the shirt untucked over a pair of brown chinos that fit your body well. Saggy pants are not appropriate interview attire.
Brown denim is a fantastic choice. Depending on the company vibe, you may even want to roll the cuff of the pants up slightly. In which case, make sure that the rolls on both pants legs are crisp and even. Complete the look with a brown belt and brown lace-up oxfords.
Create a great first impression by wearing a light-blue shirt that buttons down the front. Choose an option where you can roll up the sleeves. Wear your shirt tucked into a pair of black dress trousers. Select a pair of pants with accordion pockets.
Wear a black belt with the outfit. You can go with several shoe styles, but a fantastic choice is a pair of black Chelsea boots. There is no need for a tie, but you can wear one if you want. If so, be sure to wear a tie tack.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about the many different clothing options that men can wear to an interview. Keep in mind that not all choices are appropriate for all business levels. If in doubt, it is better to overdress for an interview than underdress for one.
Keep reading because, in the next chapter, we will take a look at things you never want to wear to a job interview. Even if you have trouble finding the right clothes, you will not want to do these things.
While we are focusing on the job interview, in most cases, you should keep these tips in mind throughout your working career to help you move up the career chain. After all, business executives want people who will positively represent their businesses.
Bright or flashy colors
Do not show up at your interview looking like Elvis Presley in his all-white suit or Prince in his bright purple suit. Likewise, avoid going to an interview looking like Beyonce getting ready to strip or Liberace putting on a stage show. Instead, stick with neutral colors.
For formal and professional business interviews, it is best to wear black. You have more color freedom at the other levels, but do not wear anything that will detract from your answers. After all, the person wants to concentrate on your answers to see if you are the right person for the job.
Overly casual wear
Even if you have a good luck tee-shirt or a pair of shorts that look fabulous on you, leave those items behind during your interview. Even in smart business casual, do not wear graphics tee shirts or cut-offs. Leave your favorite shorts clean for a celebration after you land the perfect job.
Additionally, clothes that indicate love or hate for a race, religion, sexual preference, or other group are not appropriate for a job interview. In most cases, you will want to avoid wearing hats to an interview, especially men. Not taking them off inside is often viewed as a sign of disrespect.
Especially since interviews often put you in close contact with another person, do not wear any heavy fragrances. Many people have trouble breathing when exposed to heavy scents, which makes it impossible to pay attention to your answers. Therefore, make sure that you are perfectly clean before the interview begins.
If you insist on wearing a fragrance, make it a very light one. Likewise, if you are a smoker, make sure that your body and clothes do not smell of cigarette smoke. Try getting dressed about 30 minutes before your interview, and resist the urge to smoke once you put on your interview clothes.
Many people find smacking gum an irritating sound. Avoid interviewing with gum in your mouth so that you do not accidentally smack it during the interview. While you may want to put a breath mint in your mouth to freshen your breath right before the interview, make sure it is gone before entering the interview room.
It makes it harder to talk when you have something in your mouth. Even if you are successful, it also makes you harder to understand. Therefore, you should always interview with your mouth empty, unless you are interviewing at a restaurant.
Too many accessories
Do not wear too many or too flashy accessories during an interview, as they can be very distracting to you and the persons interviewing you. Instead, choose one or two accessories that accentuate your outfit’s appearance. For instance, it is much better to wear one bracelet than a set of bangles.
Likewise, if you have large earrings, leave them at home and opt for simple stud or dangle earrings. It is usually best not to wear an ankle bracelet or a toe ring. While they are becoming generally acceptable in many circles, you may have an interviewer who still does not find them acceptable in the workplace.
Tight or ripped clothing
Wear clothing that is the right size and shape for your body. While ripped jeans may be in style, wearing them to an interview is not a good idea. Additionally, avoid any distressed clothing, even if it is the current fashion. Try on your clothes a few days ahead of the interview to ensure that they still fit you.
I had a good friend interviewing in the fashion industry in late August. As part of the interview, she had to model a long gown. She had been swamped in the two months leading up to the interview and had eaten in many restaurants. When she put on the dress, she could not zip it up in the back.
She frantically cut a bed sheet and put it where the zipper would not zip. The dress was designed to be worn with a shawl. All went well during the interview until she was asked to remove her shawl. At that point, her interviewers saw the bedsheet, and she did not get the job.
If you must park away from the interview location or are running late, you may be tempted to wear your favorite pair of tennis shoes so that you can walk easier. That is not the best type of shoes to wear to an interview. At a formal or professional business interview, women should choose high-heel shoes that they can move in easily.
Women can wear high-heels or flats at other levels, and men should wear dress boots or Oxford shoes. At the top levels, your shoes should not have any design on them. Choose closed-toes shoes as they are required in the workplace. Flip-flops and casual-style sandals should be left for celebrating after you land the job.
Stained or wrinkled clothes
Never interview wearing stained or wrinkled clothing. If you cannot get a stain out, it is time to choose something else to wear. Likewise, if you are not an expert in ironing, then consider choosing ready-to-wear clothing or getting your garments dry-cleaned.
If you need to fly or drive a long way to the interview, take your garments with you, but do not wear them. Find a location near your interview location where you can get dressed. It is always a great idea to take a backup outfit with you. Then, if something goes wrong, you can quickly change clothes.
You may love the look of 1970s leisure suits or 1930s Glenn plaid suits, but save them for a different time. While you may not be interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, you should stay with modern-style clothing. Thankfully, knee-length pencil skirts and black three-piece suits will not go out of style.
Therefore, concentrate on buying the best interview clothes that you can afford. They will become a staple in your wardrobe after you land the job, and you can wear many of them for different occasions outside of work. If you are broke, then check the thrift store or borrow classics from a friend.
Poor personal grooming
You can have wonderful clothes to wear to an interview, but you also need to think about your grooming. Avoid hairstyles that may be controversial. In most cases, you will want to wear your hair in a natural color as many companies’ dress codes require it.
Head to the barber or beautician to get your hair trimmed and styled before your interview day arrives. If you have tattoos that some may find offensive, find a way to cover them up during the interview. Both men and women need to ensure that their fingernails are clean and well-groomed before the interview.
We have covered a lot of information so far in this post. You have an idea of the many interview styles and what to wear to an interview. In this chapter, we examined things to avoid when getting ready for an interview. In the last chapter, we will give you some final advice on choosing the right interview clothes.
Therefore, ahead of the interview, spend time picking out fabulous interview clothes. Focus on selecting quality clothes that make you look great.
While getting dressed up may not be your favorite thing to do, you want the job, so do it for a little bit. At the same time, choose an outfit that is as comfortable as possible. Avoid clothes that are too tight or will not allow you to move comfortably.
Additionally, you should avoid any design element, like a front tie on a woman’s blouse, that you tend to play with constantly. Choose types of jewelry that you will not be tempted to turn and twist when you are nervous during the interview. Select shoes that you can walk in without them hurting your feet.
Try your outfit several days in advance
There is nothing worse than discovering at the last minute that there is a rip in your interview clothes that you forgot about or that you have put on a few extra pounds, and the outfit no longer fits you correctly. Therefore, you should try on your outfit several days in advance.
This gives you the chance to fix any problem areas or buy a new interview outfit if your current one is dated. Be your own worst critic and discover if the outfit is frayed or wrinkled during this time. You have time to do something about it when you find out the problem several days in advance.
Select an attire that suits the company dress code
Companies have different dress codes, and they may even vary from one company level to the next. Therefore, you should find out the dress code in the area where you will be working. If you have found out about the job through a headhunter, ask them if you are unsure about what to wear.
Using LinkedIn and other sources to locate someone who already works there can be a great idea. Additionally, you may also want to email the person who invited you to the interview to see if they have recommendations on what you should wear.
Choose clothing that looks flattering on you
A company wants a representative that looks great as it reflects on the whole company. Additionally, when you look your best, you have better self-esteem, and you will do a better job answering questions during the interview.
Therefore, short people should wear clothing that makes them look taller, like long and straight lines on a jacket. Meanwhile, those who are tall and slender will want to wear outfits that give them more breadth, like broad shoulders on a jacket.
If you happen to be carrying a few extra pounds, try to avoid clothes that cut your body in half, like options requiring belts.
Make sure everything is neat and clean
One of the judgment calls interviewers are likely to make is your ability to pay attention to detail. That judgment call often is based on your clothing. Therefore, you want everything to look polished. Take particular care to polish and clean your shoes before the meeting. If you wear pants with a front crease, make sure it is crisp.
It is usually a great idea to have your clothes professionally dry cleaned before an interview when possible. Never wear clothes that are ripped or have holes to an interview. Even if those design elements are part of the clothing, they are inappropriate for an interview.
Prefer the right colors
In a formal business interview, you will want to wear black or navy blue. More color choices are possible as you move down the ladder, but sticking with earth tones is always a great idea. You want to be remembered for the quality of your answers and not for what you wore, so leave all bright colors at home.
Except at the top level, consider wearing clothes that look great with your skin tone. Those with summer undertones will want to consider wearing peach, cream, and golden hues, while those with winter undertones will wish to think about white, black, and navy blue.
Pick out the correct footwear
At least in the United States, closed-toe shoes are required by federal law in all workplaces, and they should be worn to interviews. Wear shoes that are in great shape and are well polished. Leave athletic shoes and casual sandals at home. Choose a pair of shoes that are in style and that you can walk in easily.
For guys, that usually means oxfords or wingtips. For formal and business professional interviews, women should wear heels. At other levels, women can wear flats as long as they look dressy. Always match your shoe color to your outfit. Guys should not wear brown shoes with a black suit but opt for black shoes instead.
Adopt current styles
You may be a huge fan of clothing from an earlier time, but they are not appropriate for an interview. Likewise, do not choose outfits that are too fashion-forward. An interview is a place to stick to middle-of-the-road clothing choices.
You should avoid any design detail in your clothing that draws attention to the dress instead of your answers. Guys, you may love bow or bolero ties, but leave them for after you get hired. Discover the current suit style for lapels and other features, and wear a suit that matches the current trend.
Women will want to wear dresses that stop somewhere between their knees and mid-calf. If the dress has a slit, it should stop at least two finger lengths below the tips of her fingers when her arms are hanging down straight. Men and women will want to ensure that their sleeves are the right length.
Sleeves on suit coats, blazers, and jackets should stop right above the hinge where the wrist meets the hand. Pants should not require a belt to stay in place, but they should not cut into your waist. Chinos should end at the top of your shoes. Dress trousers should be just slightly longer to have a slight break.
Develop an emergency plan
A friend called me laughing several years ago. She had been in the bathroom of a big-box store when three well-dressed ladies came in, who seemed to be in a panic. They were early for an interview at a nearby establishment and decided to go shopping at the store, which had big trees in front of it. As they approached the store, a bird did what birds do naturally, and the mess landed on one of the lady’s heads. The ladies were frantically trying to get the problem corrected before the interview. Thankfully, my friend was able to help, and the ladies made it to the interview on time and were well dressed. Let their experience serve as a reminder always to have a backup plan.
I have covered a lot of ground in this post. I have given you specific examples of what to wear at different job interviews. I have also covered specific points to keep in mind, along with things you should avoid. If you have any questions, be sure to ask.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. The next time you hear that one of your friends is looking for a job, be sure to share it with them.
Landing the perfect interview can be tricky, but it can be even harder to decide what to wear to the office after hearing that you are hired. Therefore, you will want to check out my other great fashion posts.
Good luck with the interview. I know you will be the perfect employee.