The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That's why, in many cases, it is still important to dress professionally for a job interview, regardless of the work environment.
What's the appropriate dress code for an interview? You'll want that first impression to be not just a good one, but, a great one. In general, the candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.
Here's more on what to wear to an interview for professional, casual and startup companies, when you want to make the best impression.
How to Dress for a Professional Interview:
Men's Interview Attire
- Suit (solid color - navy or dark grey)
- Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
- Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
- Little or no jewelry
- Neat, professional hairstyle
- Limit the aftershave
- Neatly trimmed nails
- Portfolio or briefcase
Here are examples of interview clothes for men:
Women's Interview Attire
- Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
- The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
- Coordinated blouse
- Conservative shoes
- Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
- No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
- Professional hairstyle
- Neutral pantyhose
- Light make-up and perfume
- Neatly manicured clean nails
- Portfolio or briefcase
Here are examples of interview clothes for women:
Less Formal Interview Attire
When the workplace or the job is less formal, the dress code may be as well. If you're not sure what to wear, it's fine check with the person scheduling the interview. However, it's still important not to dress like a slob. Here are some alternatives:
What Colors to Wear
Wearing the right colors can help convey your confidence, professionalism and your ability to fit into an organization's environment. Here are tips for choosing the right colors for your interview attire.
What Not to Bring to the Interview
- Cell phone
- Coffee or soda
- If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (earrings only, is a good rule)
- Cover tattoos
Interview Attire Tips
- Before you even think about going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly.
- Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don't have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.
- If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners after an interview, so they are ready for next time.
- Polish your shoes.
- Bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building.
Additional Interviewing Resources
How to Dress for Success
How to dress for an interview including advice on what, and what not, to wear on a job interview, appropriate interview attire, how to impress a prospective employer, business vs. business casual attire, and tips on dressing for success.
Most Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid
Here are the most common interview mistakes job seekers make and how to avoid them.
Interview Questions and Answers
The key to successful interviewing is to review these typical interview questions and prepare your answers. Also be ready with questions for the interviewer - here's a list.