Most people make snap judgments about other people based on their appearance. When you’re applying for a job, it’s smart to bear in mind that you may only get to make a first impression, and that most people hiring you will not spend enough time with you to see past your appearance. It’s therefore important to let your appearance speak for you when you go to a job interview, and to carefully consider what you should wear to impress your interviewer.
In many industries, informal to formal business wear is standard for a job interview. In any type of office job, business dress code is the preferred way to show up for a job interview. Standard business-wear for men means a suit, white shirt, and tie, and a dress loafer shoe worn with socks. In most cases you needn’t worry about wearing suspenders, three-piece suits or the like, unless you’re applying for a job as a top-level executive.
You should give some consideration to color of your suit, choice of tie, and color of your shirt. The safest bet is to choose a neutral colored suit, with black, gray and navy blue being the top choices. Dress shirts should be white, and ties need to be fairly muted. A job interview day is not the day to wear whimsical ties. Standard tie colors should coordinate well with the suit; consider reds, blues or grays. Patterns in the tie should be understated like muted stripes, paisley prints or the like.
For women, either skirt or pants suits are the most appropriate for an office job interview. If you do choose to wear a skirt, it should be no shorter than knee length, and you must wear stockings. Shoe choice should be simple, with both high heels and flats appropriate. Closed-toe shoes are preferred until you can check whether office policy permits otherwise. Even with a pants suit, you should wear knee-highs or trouser socks with shoes. Jewelry should be understated and coordinate well with what you are wearing.
When you have a job interview for a more casual work environment, men should still consider wearing at least slacks and a neutral colored sports jacket, with the traditional white, or muted color shirt. A tie should still be worn. Women might choose pants and a twinset sweater option, or a skirt and a simple blouse instead, for a job interview with this type of company. Even if a work environment is casual, dressing well for an interview denotes that you are professional, and most interviews are much more formal occasions requiring at least slightly more formal clothing.
Sometimes you may have to change job interview apparel based on the type of employment you seek. A casual retail outlet selling rock posters might mean that wearing a miniskirt and keeping your nose ring in is perfectly acceptable. If possible, get a look at what other employees at a company are wearing prior to choosing your clothing for an interview. If you dress like these employees, you will automatically fit in better and seem like you already hold the job for which you are applying.
Some consideration should be given to hair and makeup for job interviews. For both men and women, hair should be cut and styled in a relatively conservative fashion: no mohawks, green or purple hair, or otherwise. Women should wear suitable makeup that is understated. Consider colored lip gloss instead of harsh colored lipsticks, minimal eye makeup and blush, and a good simple base foundation that matches well with your skin tone. Take out multiple piercings. Men, for instance, should avoid wearing pierced ears or nose rings. Women, if they have multiple piercings should consider wearing only one pair of earrings.