How to dress for a job interview?

How to dress for a job interview?

  • Monday December 2nd, 2013
  • 7,173

Female shaking hands at the job interviewPut yourself in the interviewer’s perspective. A person comes into an interview, has an excellent resume, sounds great on the phone, but is dressed in shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and their hair is a mess. Would you hire this person? Chances are you would be thinking about what they were wearing and not about their qualifications.

This sounds like something made up but it is not. People actually go to a formal interview dressed in casual clothes and cannot understand why they are not hired. If you are being interviewed for a white-collar position, then you should be dressed appropriately. Therefore, what is right for a formal interview?

You want your clothes to reflect the professionalism you will bring to the position. Proper dress shows you know how a business operates and have respect for the job. A basic guide to follow is as follows:


Formal Dress for a Man

  • A business suit in a muted color like black, dark grey, or navy are good choices as is dark brown. Avoid anything that is brightly colored or has a prominent strip. Avoid wearing colored pants with a co-ordinating jacket. A matching suit appears more professional than the slightly sporty style of a co-ordinated outfit.
  • If the normal attire in the workplace is more relaxed, you can opt for a co-ordinated outfit but be careful that the interview is not formal.
  • Wear either a plain or a slightly patterned silk tie. It is preferable to wear a tie clip to keep the tie straight and look more professional. The tie should extend to your belt level but not below it. Having your tie extend higher than your belt makes the tie look too short for your body. Either retie it or purchase a longer tie.
  • Your shirt can be white, which looks highly professional or a color that goes with your suit. It should be long sleeved, even in warmer weather. Do not wear a brightly colored shirt or patterned one. Your tie should be matched to your shirt and suit. Check to make sure your collar is folded down properly after tying your tie.
  • Socks should be black or a darker color and come to about mid-calf, so your leg does not show when you are sitting.
  • Shoes are always black leather, well cleaned, polished, and tied if they have laces.
  • A black belt will round out the outfit.
  • Make sure your suit and shirt are well pressed and clean. All tags should be removed. Check yourself in a mirror prior to attending the interview to make sure everything looks presentable.
  • Avoid wearing earrings. Facial hair should be kept well-trimmed or cleanly shaven, depending on your own personal style.
  • Avoid wearing cologne or fragrance as the company may have a no-scent policy or someone present in the interview may be allergic. As a matter of fact, in Canada, most workplaces are fragrance-free.
  • Always carry a pen and an extra copy or two of your resume and references. These should be carried in a black portfolio, which can be purchased from a stationary store relatively inexpensively.


Formal Dress for a Woman

  • A Skirt suit in a darker color with no pattern or a subtle pattern. Skirt should be knee length, the jacket should be well tailored to fit properly, and the blouse/top should be plain with no embellishments. A white or slightly patterned blouse/top is preferable.
  • A Pantsuit with a well-tailored jacket in a plain or subtle pattern, in a darker color. The blouse/top should be white or subtle color with little or no pattern.
  • Shoes are always closed toed with a heel no more than 2 inches tall. Avoid anything clunky and never wear sandals. They do not look professional.
  • Earrings, if you wear them, should be simple studs or something simple that does not dangle. You do not want to distract the interviewer by having a dangling earring.
  • Keep your jewellery to a minimum and avoid anything flashy.
  • Your hair should be styled and well kept. Avoid any flashy color accents or any style that makes a statement about you.
  • Your purse should be co-ordinated with your outfit, plain, and preferably leather. Your best option is to carry a business tote bag that contains copies of your resume, references, and a pen.
  • Do not wear perfume, as it is distracting and may be against the companies no scent policy. Keep makeup to a minimum and avoid any bright colors.

The most notable thing to remember during an interview is always appearing confident. No company will hire someone who appears to want to hide under the desk during the interview. Take time to think about your answers to the questions asked and answer in a confident voice.

Always greet everyone in the interview by shaking his or her hand firmly while making eye contact. Your appearance is the first thing the interviewers are going to remember. Walk in with your head held high and leave the same way no matter how you felt the interview went.

When employers post jobs, they have high expectations about the potential candidates they would like to bring into their company.


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