Could What You Wear to an Interview Ruin Your Job Chances?

News and insights for job seekers and hiring managers.

Could What You Wear to an Interview Ruin Your Job Chances?

Many candidates don’t realize that what they wear to an interview could ruin their chances of landing a job. If an applicant’s outfit is too casual, the hiring manager may assume that they aren’t enthusiastic about the opportunity or even genuinely interested in the role. Others may consider it unprofessional, inappropriate, or disrespectful, which also works against you.

As a result, it’s critical to dress appropriately for every job interview. If you aren’t sure what to wear (and what not to wear), here’s what you need to know.

How to Dress for a Job Interview

Usually, you want to align your interview outfit with the company’s dress code. Spend some time researching the organization before your interview to see if you can figure out what’s typically worn in the office. You can look for official policies or use company-posted workplace photos as guides.

If you’re having trouble determining what the company dress code is, then it’s best to err on the side of business casual or business formal, depending on the type of workplace. Most companies find business casual acceptable. However, going more formal is typically the better choice if you’re interviewing in a highly professional environment like a law office.

Business casual is put together without going as far as requiring a suit. For example, slacks paired with a blouse or button-up shift, pairing the latter with a sport coat or blazer, usually does the trick. You can have a little fun with color or pattern, but avoid anything overly bright or bold.

For accessories on a business casual outfit, wearing a belt and slightly dressy shoes is wise. When it comes to jewelry, keep it a bit understated, aiming for tasteful with a tinge of creativity.

If the workplace requires business formal clothing, you can’t go wrong with a classic suit. Keep the colors more neutral, sticking with shades of gray, navy, forest green, and similar, more traditional hues. Ensure your belt and shoes feel dressy, and keep jewelry highly subdued.

How Not to Dress for a Job Interview

Even if the workplace is very casual, there are certain attire choices that generally aren’t advised for a job interview. For example, wearing jeans and a t-shirt is typically too relaxed, even if the workplace is casual. For a casual workplace, it’s still best to step things up a bit during the interview, such as by pairing a printed t-shirt with a blazer and chinos.

Avoid any shirts or pants with words printed across them, regardless of what the word is and how it’s presented. When it comes to colors, don’t go with colors or patterns that aren’t necessarily comfortable to view. For example, neon shades are usually too vibrant for an interview, so choose something that’s more subdued.

Keep any accessories and jewelry tasteful and intentional. While a single statement piece is potentially fine, too many large pieces or excessive layers could come across as visually busy, so it’s better to scale back.

Finally, make sure any clothing items you choose are in good repair and free of wrinkles, stains, and holes. The outfit must also fit correctly, as overly tight or loose clothing looks unprofessional.

Get In Touch With Our Team

Ultimately, by following the tips above, you can select an appropriate outfit for a job interview. Are you ready for a new job? If so, the recruiters at Top Notch Personnel want to hear from you. Learn more about our current job openings and speak with one of our skilled recruiters to see how we can accelerate your job search today.