Dressing for an Interview – Don’t Stand Out Because of What You’re Wearing

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An interview is your opportunity to make a good first impression on a potential employer. While your qualifications, experience, and personality will play a major role in making that first impression, your physical appearance will have an impact as well.

What you wear to an interview will influence an employer’s opinion of you as a potential employee. If you’re wearing the appropriate attire, the employer’s attention will remain focused on your personality and communication skills during the interview. If you’re not wearing the appropriate attire, you will likely be remembered – but not for your qualifications.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when dressing for an interview:

  • Wear a suit. It’s better to be over dressed than under dressed, and employers are expecting job candidates to be dressed in a suit. Men should wear a tie and women, if wearing a skirt, should make sure the length is appropriate. It’s best not to wear anything that hits above the knee.
  • Make sure your clothes are clean, wrinkle-free, and fit you well. Iron your clothes ahead of time and make sure you haven’t missed removing any tags from new items of clothing.
  • Conservative is best. Keep bright colors and patterns to a minimum. Black, navy and tan are typical suit colors recommended for an interview. You can add a little bit of brightness when choosing a shirt or tie, but nothing over the top.
  • If you wear jewelry, keep it to a minimum. It’s safest not to wear big, flashy jewelry. Keep it simple.
  • Don’t wear a lot of perfume or cologne. Some people have strong reactions to these scents and you don’t want to offend an interviewer or others in the office with your smell.
  • Make sure your hair is clean and neat. Men should either shave or groom facial hair.
  • Check yourself over one quick time right before the interview. If you arrive early enough, step into the restroom to make sure your tie is straight, your hair is in place, and everything else is in order.

The effort you make with your physical appearance for an interview is a reflection of how seriously you take the job. An interviewer will notice and appreciate a job candidate who is appropriately dressed and groomed for an interview. If you show up looking unkempt or inappropriately dressed, that will be a sign to the employer that you either aren’t taking the interview seriously or simply aren’t going to be a good fit for the job.

Make sure you take the time to prepare your wardrobe before your interview. If you don’t own a suit, either buy one or borrow one from a friend or relative if possible. You don’t have to own the most expensive suit, as long as it fits you well and doesn’t look outdated. One suit should be able to get you through your job search; you can change out the shirt, tie and accessories to give it a different look each time you wear it.

You shouldn’t stand out because of what you wear to an interview. Your qualifications, personality and self confidence are what should really resonate with a potential employer.