Deciding What to Wear to Your Interview
Like most people, interviewers are susceptible to first impressions, and one of the first things an interviewer will see about you is how you're dressed. Since you want to make sure that first impression is a good one, here are some things to keep in minding when choosing an outfit for an interview.
- A good interview outfit should be relatively formal, so no jeans, T-shirts, or sneakers unless you've specifically been asked to wear them. A business suit is usually a safe bet for either a man or a woman. If you don't have a business suit, a long-sleeved, solid-colored shirt (button-down for men) or sweater and a pair of dark-colored cotton or wool pants will usually work.
- When you choose your clothes, make sure they fit well, are not visibly worn out, and are comfortable to sit down in. Both men and women should avoid wearing clothing that's too tight, since provocative clothing isn't seen as professional attire. Women should avoid low necklines and very short skirts for the same reason.
- Keep accessories to a minimum. Wearing too much jewelry, make-up (for women), perfume, or cologne is considered unprofessional, and it won't make a good impression on the interviewer. You may even want to avoid perfume or cologne altogether, since you have no way of knowing whether any of the people you'll meet are allergic to it.
- Wear dark or neutral colors, even if these aren't colors you ordinarily wear. This applies not only to the clothes you wear, but also to accessories and shoes. Women should also wear neutral colored stockings, and men should wear neutral or dark ties.
- Make sure you're well-groomed when you're going to an interview. Check that your hair and nails are neat and clean and that your clothing is unwrinkled or ironed before leaving the house. This shows the interviewer that you took time to prepare for the interview and are taking it seriously.
- Keep in mind that not every tip on this list will apply in all situations. For an audition interview, for example, you may be expected to dress less formally, depending on what you're going to be asked to do. If you're not sure what to wear, you may be able to call the Human Resources department of the company and ask what would be appropriate. You can also ask friends or colleagues who may have interviewed at similar workplaces.
To learn more about appropriate interview attire, check out this infographic on how to Dress for Success.