How To Dress For A Job Interview

To get the job you are striving for, learning how to dress for a job interview is perhaps just as important as wowing the interviewer. Interviews are all about first impressions, which is why dressing appropriately for a job interview is a must. While proper dress will vary depending on the job, following a few simple rules will help you impress the interviewer and land that job.

Before you begin to dress for a job interview:

  • Learn about the company's culture. Call or visit the company to get a general idea of appropriate dress. Office buildings will expect business dress, where as other companies will allow a more casual attire.  

How men should dress for a job interview:

  1. Pull out your best suit or dress shirt. Pick a solid-color suit with a white dress shirt or one that coordinates with the suit. Depending on the job, a tie may also be expected.   
  2. Choose appropriate pants. Men wearing a suit should wear pants that coordinate with the colors of the suit, with black or dark navy slacks the standard.  For a less formal interviews, khaki pants may be sufficient.  Don't forget a belt.
  3. Match the shoes to the outfit. While black dress shoes are appropriate with almost any outfit, men may also match their shoes with the color of their suit or belt.  Shoes should be clean, free from scuffs and polished.  Socks should also match the color scheme of the outfit, with black dress socks a good standby.
  4. Complete the look. Be sure your hair and body is clean and well groomed.  Clean and trim the fingernails and skip the overpowering cologne. Choose an accessory that will be memorable for the interviewer, but don't go overboard with something too extravagant or flashy.

How women should dress for a job interview.

  1. Pick an appropriate top. For women, the job interview dress choices are wider, with a dress shirt and blazer, sweater, turtleneck or simple blouse great choices.  Opt for prints and cuts that are not overly exciting and that are not too revealing.
  2. Choose dress slacks or a conservative skirt. Women wearing a dress suit should have a coordinating pair of dress slacks or a skirt.  If you're piecing together an outfit, make sure the pants or skirt coordinates well with the top.  Wear slacks that are well pressed and not too tight. Skip the short skirts at all costs, opting for a knee-length skirt instead.
  3. Wear conservative dress shoes.  Flats and lower heels in a solid color, one that coordinates with the outfit, are recommended. For best results, always stay away from sandals, flip flops, open-toed shoes or extremely high heels.
  4. Polish your appearance. Style your hair properly, using as little fragrant hair products as possible. Tone down your makeup and nail polish, opting for clean, unpolished nails over loud colors. Limit your accessories to just a few, making sure they are not overly distracting.  Skip the overpowering perfume and don't forget neutral pantyhose.

Tips for dressing for a job interview:

  • Plan ahead and try your outfit on the night before the interview. Make sure it fits properly and does not appear dated. Be sure all clothes are clean, free from holes and well pressed.  
  • When in doubt, dress up. Arriving at a job interview overdressed rather than underdressed will show your professionalism and commitment to the position.  If necessary borrow appropriate clothing or invest in one professional outfit.
  • Cover tattoos and remove any piercings. Stick to basic jewelry only, such as earrings and one ring at the most.  
  • Skip the watch. This eliminates the chance you may look at the watch during the interview, which can suggest to the interviewer that you are bored or anxious to leave.
  • Don't forget a briefcase or portfolio. You'll want to bring along your resume, references and any other documentation pertinent to the position. A professional bag is recommended, while designer purses or tattered old bags are not.
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