Written by – Caitlin Johnson
First impressions matter when interviewing for a job. Of course, it’s your skill-set and personality that matter most, but appearance is going to be what the interviewer notices first. And it can go a long way in showing them that you are a great fit for the company. What you wear and how you’re styled will make or break your interviewers’ first impression of you. The days of wearing a navy or black pant/skirt suit are long gone. These days you need to target your look for the job and industry you’re interviewing in.
The Three Parts of Nailing Your Interview Attire:
- Common Company Dress Codes
- Using Colors to Convey a Message
- Time-tested Do’s & Don’ts
Common Company Dress Codes
A general rule that works across the board: dress one level up from what the current employees wear.
How do you find out what the current employees wear?? EASY! Check websites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn to see if there are any pictures of the office and employees. If you have no luck there, stalk the companies’ social media; you’re bound to find out something on those networks. And if you still can’t find anything through those methods, just cruise by the office when employees are exiting/entering the building.
The three styles below are your most common dress codes and show examples of outfit templates.
This look is gonna work best for companies that have a business/business casual dress code. This look will work best with blues, grays, and black pieces.
Business Casual, Interview Style
For this look, think of what you would normally wear to work, and then dress it up a bit. A statement necklace could work here, just make it sleek and clean.
In an office where everyone wears jeans and sneakers, you will look like an ill-fit for the company culture if you show up in a stuffy suit. This look still needs to stay work-appropriate; it is not the time to showcase your inner-hipster.
Using Color to Convey a Message
Now that you have a template for what you should wear to an interview, we need to talk about colors. The colors you choose can have a massive effect on others, so it’s important to choose wisely. In creative industries, you’ll have a wider range of acceptable colors and outfits which is why researching the cultural norms of the office beforehand is so important.
Black – If worn correctly, this color can communicate glamor, exclusivity, and sophistication. Wearing black is a great way to communicate you are a leader.
White – This is a risky color to wear to on an interview day, but it exudes a feeling that you are organized. Any chaos or mistakes and you may find yourself with a stain on your crisp, white outfit. Though, a good way to stick out in an office where everyone wears bright colors is wearing white or beige.
Blue – This might just be your best bet to wear to an interview if you want to add color to your look. Studies show that blue exudes trust and confidence; it shows the interviewer you are a team player. Wearing navy blue is more likely to get you the job than any other color.
Red – Bright colors like red can elicit very strong emotions, your best bet is to stay away from red and any other colors that can be spotted across the building. Unless you’re going on a date or are a superhero, stay away from red.
Orange – This color has the lowest correlation with confidence and that’s the last thing you want to convey to an interviewer. Just stay away from wearing this color to any interview.
Brown – This color tends to be associated with reliability and comfort BUT it might backfire should you be interviewing at a fast-paced company. It gives an impression to the interviewer that you would be resistant to change. Ditch this color and choose a stronger color like navy or black.
Time-Tested Do’s and Don’ts for Women
- Leather purse or briefcase, pick one or the other
- Manicured nails, with no polish or neutral polish
- Minimal makeup, interviews are no place for your killer contouring skills or brand-new red lip stain
- Neatly groomed hair, pulled away from the face if possible
- Clean, close-toed shoes, heels shouldn’t be more than 2-3 inches
- Leather or link band conservative watch
- Cover tattoos and take out body piercings
- Short skirts/dresses or form fitting pieces
- Colored, patterned, or textured hosiery
- Wet hair!!
- Strong perfume or body lotion
- Distracting and noisy jewelry
- Jeans, sneakers, t-shirts
- Wearing sunglasses on your head
- Exposed technology, turn your phone off (better yet, keep it in the car)
- Carrying a bookbag instead of a briefcase
Now take this information and nail down your perfect interview outfit! The confidence you’ll gain from wearing interview clothes you feel comfortable in is paramount. Appearances solely won’t get you the job offer but they most certainly can land you a rejection letter.