How to Dress for a Job Interview?

Congratulations!! You just got a phone call telling you that you have been selected for a job interview. You immediately start calling everyone you know to tell them the great news. Your best buddy then asks you a question you haven’t thought about yet. “So what are you going to wear?” You start to worry because you have absolutely no idea! So how should you dress for a job interview?

Go for the Suit

Always wear a suit for a job interview. Make sure it is a conservative, clean, nice fitting, solid colored suit. Don’t wear suits that are too big or too small. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed for a job interview!

Pay attention to the Colors

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It is always best to wear a solid colored suit for a job interview. Blue, Navy and Gray are the best colored suits to wear to a job interview. Why? Did you know that the colors you choose to wear actually tell a story about you?

  • Blue/Navy: These colors represent honesty, trust, tranquility, and loyalty. This color has the best success rate for interviews. A great accent color for blue is yellow because this color combination represents honestly and cheerfulness.
  • Gray: This color represents neutrality and sophistication. This color has the second best success rate for interviews.
  • Black: This color represents authority, power, and drama. This color is known as a power color and sometimes can make you seem unapproachable and overpowering. I would suggest only using black as an accent color choice for a job interview.
  • White: This color represents purity, cleanliness, and order. A white suit would be very distracting but a white blouse or shirt mixed with a blue, navy, or gray suit would be an excellent choice for a job interview.
  • Red: This color represents power, passion, and strength. A red suit would be very overpowering. A red tie (for men) or some non flashy red accent jewelry (for women) to complement a blue, navy, or gray suit with a white shirt would be acceptable during an interview. The red and white color combination represents organization and an in-charge attitude.
  • Orange: This color is similar to red and represents someone with a strong personality. It may attract the attention of others and induce intense emotions. I would skip this color choice for a job interview.
  • Brown/Beige/Tan: These colors represent credibility, stability, and tranquility. This color invites open communication but also may give others the impression that you are a non-assertive or passive person. I would only use these colors as accent colors choices for a job interview.
  • Green: This color represents nature, success, wealth, and security. This color would be acceptable to use as an accent color choice for a job interview.
  • Purple: This color represents royalty, richness, and power. I would skip this color choice for a job interview.
  • Pink: This color represents fun, excitement, passion, and love. I would also skip this color choice for a job interview.

Blouses/Shirts

Make sure you wear a coordinated blouse or shirt with your suit. A white shirt is an excellent choice for any suit because it goes with anything and it is not a distraction color. If you must wear a different color besides white, make sure you know what the color you choose represents (see Pay Attention to the Colors above). Men should always wear a tie with a suit. Make sure you pick a tie that coordinates with your suit and is not too busy, flashy, or distracting. A solid colored tie would be an excellent choice but make sure it isn’t a distracting color that represents you in a negative way.

Shoes/Socks

Always wear dark colored socks with a suit. Don’t wear white socks! Wear shoes that are professional. Make sure your shoes are shined and not dirty, torn, or look worn-out. Don’t wear sneakers or flip-flops. Don’t wear sandals or open-toed shoes. Don’t wear shimmery or overly embellished shoes. Women should wear closed-toed flats or high heels (3 inches or less) for a job interview. Your shoes should compliment your outfit, not overpower it or become a focal point.

Jewelry

Always wear very limited jewelry to a job interview. Don’t wear any jewelry that could become distracting. Necklaces should be simple and not big and flashy. Rings and bracelets should be simple and only one ring should be worn on each hand. Do not wear a ring on the same arm as you have a bracelet on because it might become too much. If you wear a bracelet, only wear one and make sure it isn’t flashy or bulky. Don’t wear cocktail rings or long, big, dangly earrings. Remember, you are trying to accessorize your outfit without anything that has a possibility of becoming distracting. Don’t wear any face piercings to an interview and make sure you are only wearing one pair of earrings in the fatty part of your earlobe. I would recommend that a man not wear any jewelry to an interview besides a watch and a wedding ring (if married). Wearing a watch is an excellent choice because it gives others the impression that you are a timely person that is concerned about being on time and meeting deadlines. On that note, if you wear a watch you better be early for the job interview!

Hair

Your hair should look neat and professional. If you have long hair and tend to fiddle with it, make sure you pull it up because fiddling represents a sign of nervousness. Don’t wear any flashy hair accessories that might become distracting. Don’t wear a hat! Keep your hair and bangs out of your face at all times. Keep any beards and mustaches clean and trimmed if you are a man. Men should have a short and conservative hair cut for a job interview.

Makeup

Less is better as far as makeup goes during a job interview. Make sure you wear lipstick and not lip gloss because shiny lips can become distracting. Use neutral colors for eye shadow and liners such as tans, browns, and creams. Use brown or black mascara and make sure it doesn’t look clumpy. Don’t wear fake eyelashes to a job interview! Make sure your eyebrows are well groomed. Add a small amount of neutral colored blush for a healthy glow.

Perfume/After-Shave

Don’t wear any perfume or after-shave to a job interview because your interviewer may be allergic. Make sure you are clean and showered however!

Nails

Make sure your nails are clean and well trimmed. I would recommend a manicure for both a man and a woman. Do not wear any bright colored nail polish to an interview because that can become a distraction.

Teeth

Make sure your teeth are clean. I recommend a dental cleaning every 6 months to keep your teeth looking their best. Remember to smile during a job interview!

Accessories

If you wear a belt, make sure it matches your shoes. If you bring a handbag, make sure it is small (not flashy or bulky) and coordinates with your outfit. I recommend ditching the handbag for a briefcase. You should either have a briefcase or portfolio with you during a job interview.

What not to Bring

Do not bring your cell phone, blue tooth, iPod, or Blackberry to an interview. If you do, it should be put away and turned off! Don’t walk into an interview eating anything including gum. Don’t walk into an interview drinking anything. You should always cover up all facial and body piercings if they can’t be removed. You should always keep all tattoos covered during a job interview. Do not bring any animals to an interview unless it is a Seeing Eye animal. Don’t bring your children, spouse, relatives, friends, or anyone with you to a job interview. Remember that the most important thing is to not bring or wear anything during a job interview that can possibly become a distraction and take the focus off of you as a professional!