Written by – Caitlin Johnson
First impressions are so important when interviewing for a job. Of course, it’s your killer 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 single navy or black suit to every and any interview are long gone. These days you need to target a specific look for the job and industry you’re interviewing in.
3 parts to 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 to see if there are any pictures of the employees and offices. If you have no luck there, stalk the companies’ social media; you’re bound to find out something on those networks. But if you still can’t find out beforehand what the employees wear, the three styles below serve as great templates to planning your look for interviewing with the most common dress codes.
A white cotton shirt with a dark suit and tie is gonna make your entrance powerful. Which is exactly what you want if you’re interviewing with a Fortune 500 Company or in an office where everyone is wearing suits. Also, in general, the darker the clothes, the less powerful you look. Make sure all your pieces fit appropriately and are wrinkle-free.
Interviewing for Business Casual
For this look, think of what you would normally wear to work and then make step it up a notch. This is a great example of what you could wear to an interview where everyone in the office is pretty casual with his or her dress code.
Wearing a suit in an interview with a startup will make you look stuffy and just like the person the company culture wants to avoid, AKA “The Suits.” This doesn’t mean you can start wearing your favorite band tee and sneakers at the interviews; you still need to rock a look that’s work appropriate. Take inspiration from the look below.
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 an interview, 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. 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 those 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.
Brown – This color tends to be associated with reliability and comfort and 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 Men
- Bring a leather briefcase or portfolio
- Clean shaven and well-groomed face and fingernails
- Cleaned, polished shows
- Conservative watch, an interview is no place for a sports watch
- Cover your tattoos
- Remove any visible body jewelry
- Wet hair
- Strong cologne
- Flashy jewelry or accessories
- Sunglasses worn on top of your head
- Boat shoes or sneakers
- Short-sleeve dress shirt
- Bow tie and/or suspenders
- Exposed technology, turn it off and keep it hidden!
- Carrying a book-bag
Now take this advice and nail down your perfect interview outfit! The confidence you’ll gain from wearing interview clothes you feel comfortable in is UNSTOPPABLE. Appearances solely won’t get you the job offer, but they certainly could land you a rejection letter.