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Dressing for Success

How to Dress for an Interview

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Dressing for Success
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Dressing for Success
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An article in U.S.A. Today spoke about candidates for jobs wearing jeans, purple sweat suits, and spike heels or sneakers. Other applicants weren't afraid to show pierced body parts and spiked hair. Still others chewed gum or showed up in rumpled clothes or with their pants falling down. One recruiter even told a candidate with his trousers down below his hips, to "Pull your pants up." According to the article, the outlandish dress costs some candidates the job.

Dress Your Best When Interviewing

Does it really make a difference how you dress for an interview? In many cases, it does. I'll never forget the gentleman I interviewed for an accounting position. He had been out of work for a few months and wanted to show me why. He took off his jacket, unbuttoned his shirt and started to pull down his pants (this is a true story) to show me the scar from a boat propeller that had injured him. He didn't get the job. Neither did the young lady in a bright red skirt so short and tight that she could hardly sit down!

In the conservative business climate I worked in at the time, appearances did matter. In other environments it isn't as important. However, it does make sense to dress your best for the interview, regardless of the dress code at the organization.

If you're in doubt about how to dress for an interview, it is best to err on the side of conservatism. It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed (or undressed). If you're not sure, check with the person who scheduled the interview and ask. Here's advice on what colors to wear to a job interview and what not to wear to a job interview.

According to Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics, 55% of another person's perception of you is based on how you look. Her Dressing for Success information gives some tips on how to look your best, without necessarily spending a lot of money. Here's a quick look at the basics:

Women's Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Moderate shoes
  • Limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Tan or light hosiery
  • Sparse make-up & perfume
  • Manicured nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase
Here are examples of what to wear for women:

Men's Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  • White long sleeve shirt
  • Conservative tie
  • Dark socks, professional shoes
  • Very limited jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Go easy on the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Here are examples of interview clothes for men:

More Interview Help:

How to Dress for an Interview
How to make a great first impression.

Job Interview Attire
How, and how not, to dress for an interview.

Interview Etiquette
Review these job interview etiquette tips for before, during and and after a job interview, to ensure that your job interview etiquette is up to speed and you're making the best impression on the interviewer.

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.

Winning Interview Skills
So, you’ve landed an interview for a seemingly wonderful job! Now what? Here's how to ace the interview.

Interview Articles and Advice

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Men's Business Wardrobe

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