What Not To Wear: Interview Edition

Posted by John Carroll on Friday, September 20, 2013 Under: Job Search

Let’s start with stating the obvious: dressing for an interview is an integral part of the first impression you make. That statement seems straightforward, but in reality, making a good first impression and dressing for your interview in an appropriate way will always depend on the company, so research the employee etiquette at that company before you interview. For a general idea on what or what not to do, check out these guidelines:

Ask Around
To ensure that you dress the right way for your interview, ask people you know that have experience dealing with the company you’re interviewing for, so they can let you know what the company’s atmosphere might be like. If you don’t know anyone associated with the company, check out the company’s website and view some of the company’s events or company pictures to see how employees dress within their workplace. Getting a good understanding of a company’s culture and dressing to match that culture is a good way to show you did your research.

Polished, Poised, Professional

If you can’t find any insight into the employee attire is, a good standard for interviewing is to dress in business attire. Basing your outfit on a black and white color scheme is always a great option, and you can still add pops of color through accessories, like jewelry or a tie. Just keep the “three P’s” in mind: polished, poised, and professional. Even if you are interviewing with a company that has a more laid back, casual atmosphere, you still want to look neat and put together. Don’t show up with your hair still wet from the shower or with a coffee stain you forgot to wash out on your shirt. Also, feel free to ask some fashionable friends on outfit advice; sometimes honest outside opinions can provide insight on aspects of your outfits you never noticed before.


Women have a lot of different aspects to their interview outfits that need to be coordinated. Hair, makeup, clothing, and shoes are all important points to consider. In terms of appropriate clothing, there are a couple of go-to rules that stand in any situation: avoid wearing no-pants pants (i.e. leggings, spandex, etc.). It may be a fashionable look in some settings, but even in the most casual of companies, wearing those types of clothes to an interview will usually set off a red flag in an employer’s mind. Blazers and pencil skirts, pantsuits, and business dresses are all great options for outfits. If the company is more casual and tells you that you can wear whatever you feel for the interview, still try and dress your look up a bit more than normal. Try and limit jewelry to a few key pieces, and make sure spatially that they aren’t too overwhelming. For example, wearing matching earrings and a bracelet, or wearing simple earrings and a more intricate necklace, will look clean and sharp.

And Gentleman

Men have some great options on how to spice up their interview look without going overboard as well. A well-tailored suit will always look sharp, but just make sure it isn’t too formal for the company you’re interviewing with. If the company makes it a point to tell you they are a more casual firm, a suit may come off as too stuffy, so make sure you do your research! Sometimes a nice pair of pants and a button-up dress shirt will do the trick. Hair should be neat, and to avoid any stray hairs or bed-head, using a little product can never hurt. Classic watches and colored ties are awesome accessories to incorporate into your look to personalize your style a bit more. If you like to take some fashion risks, just make sure you do it in an appropriate way that fits the company’s culture; sometimes appropriate fashion risks pay off.

One last big tip: Make sure to iron your outfits so they look crisp and fresh!

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In : Job Search 

Tags: "interview tip"