What To Wear to a Job Interview

Many employers are relatively conservative, but there are some exceptions. In any case, each employer treats the interview process very seriously. Keep this in mind when thinking about what to wear for your initial interview or subsequent callback interview. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so give careful thought to your appearance. 

The best way to dress for the first meeting is clean-cut and professional. In other words, dress “like an attorney.” It is better to be overdressed, rather than too casual. Remember that your appearance makes a statement. If you look neat and professional, you project and make an impression that you take pride in yourself and your work. Appearance has little to do with the brand labels of your clothes or good looks. Rather, someone with a nice appearance looks neat, self-confident and professional. 

It is safer to err on the side of conservative dress. For women, this generally means a suit or other similarly professional attire. Depending on the nature of the employer, you may also choose to wear a dress or pants. For men, conservative dress generally means a navy, gray, or other dark-colored suit, coordinated shirt, and a tie. Here are some additional tips: 

  • You can never go wrong with conservative colors, such as gray, navy, taupe, and black. Coordinate colors and patterns. Women can accessorize a conservative suit with a nice scarf or pin.
  • Some fabrics are more appropriate for interviews than others. Try natural fiber blends of wool, silk, or cotton over polyester or linen, which wrinkle easily. Your clothes should be fresh, neat, and pressed.
  • Your hair should also be neat and combed, and your fingernails should be clean and trimmed. Check your appearance in a mirror before entering the interview. 
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum.
  • Avoid too much cologne or perfume.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before the interview.
  • Shine your shoes.
  • Don’t smoke, drink liquor or eat foods that will leave odor to your breath before an interview. If you have bad breath, eat a breath mint, but don’t chew gum!
  • Pack an extra pair of hose or an extra tie. Carry your luggage on the plane. Accidents can happen!

An equally important part of your professional appearance is the way you carry yourself, the gestures you use, and your body language. You should be self- confident and comfortable with the way you look. So, choose styles, colors, fabrics, and patterns that make you look good. The better you feel about yourself, the better you will come across in an interview. Also, arrive 10-15 minutes in advance of your interview. Take a few minutes to freshen up, compose yourself, and gather your thoughts. 

Greet your interviewer(s) by introducing yourself with a firm handshake. Sit tall with your shoulders back, not stiff and head erect. Sitting up properly makes you  appear  casually  strong  and  interested  in  what’s  going  on.  Avoid intimidating gestures such as stabbing with a finger or winking. Maintain eye contact and don’t take notes during the interview. Be sure to smile