When Dressing for an Interview, Know the Do's and Don'ts

Dressing for an Interview

When you’re dressing for a job interview, reach for your business suit instead of your jeans and polo — and definitely not your leather pants and cowboy boots —  even if the company you’re meeting with is super-casual.

In a Robert Half Technology survey, 46 percent of executives said a formal business suit is a job candidate’s most appropriate attire when dressing for an interview. Although technology and creative departments tend to be more casual, hiring managers still want to see that job candidates make an effort to look professional for the interview. If you're working with a recruiter or HR representative, ask for insights into the company's dress code. And keep the following guidelines in mind when dressing for an interview:

Remember the do's and don'ts

  • Do: Test-drive an outfit to ensure it fits well and makes you feel confident.
  • Don’t: Assume you can "dress down," even if you know a company has a very casual atmosphere.
  • Do: Dress in layers so you can be comfortable regardless of the temperature.
  • Don’t: Wear anything uncomfortable, such as an itchy fabric. Interviews can take a long time. 
  • Do: Pay attention to details and check how you look from head to toe before leaving for the interview to make sure everything – including your hair, nails and shoes – is presentable.
  • Don’t: Show up sporting wrinkled clothes or unkempt hair.
  • Do: Choose simple jewelry and be subtle with makeup. 
  • Don’t: Overdo your use of perfume or cologne.

Keep your eyes on the prize

The bottom line when dressing for an interview is making sure you don't stand out for the wrong reasons. Inappropriate attire can distract you and the interviewer from focusing on the main reason you're here: For the person you interview with to consider whether you can do the job and will fit in. Your interviewer can’t focus on your qualifications if you’re wearing a tube top or a bandanna and torn jeans, as some candidates have in the past. So increase the likelihood that your interview will go smoothly by dressing appropriately.

How should you dress for a video interview? Check out our tips for acing this kind of meeting with a hiring manager.


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Tags: Interviewing