Nailing the Interview: Dress for Success

With the unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, landing a job interview has become increasingly difficult. Because available jobs are scarce, it’s important for job applicants to make a great first impression.

While your qualifications are important, your attire is likely to have an impact on your interviewer’s initial perception, too. Remembering to dress appropriately is the best way to insure you’re not overlooked because of a simple misunderstanding.

Dressing for success

Dressing for success will help guarantee that your first impression is a lasting one.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Some businesses have a relaxed wardrobe policy. But this does not mean that you should come to an interview underdressed.

If you’re worried about what to wear, a call to the company’s HR department can answer your questions. This way your interviewer can focus on you, and not on a potentially distracting wardrobe choice.

Conservative Works

You are more likely to lose out on a job offer by being underdressed than by being overdressed. Because your outfit will play a supporting role to your qualifications, interpersonal skills and demeanor, you want your clothes to convey professionalism.

Dressing conservatively and sticking to professional standards for men and women is recommended.

Dress For Success

Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind:

  • A two-piece matched suit is always a safe choice.
  • Wear conservative colors, such as navy or dark gray
  • Keep jewelry to a minimum and stick with a conservative watch
  • Everything should be clean and well pressed


Additional Guidelines For Men

  • Select good quality silk ties and avoid character ties during an interview
  • Wear long sleeved shirts, even in the summer
  • Wear leather, lace-up or slip-on business shoes
  • Your belt should match your shoes
  • Dark socks, mid-calf length


Additional Guidelines For Women

  • Don’t shy away from tailored pant suits
  • If you’re wearing a skirt, the length should cover your thighs when sitting
  • Underneath your suit jacket wear a tailored blouse or sweater that complements your suit
  • Hosiery should be plain, in neutral colors that compliment your suit
  • Keep makeup conservative, less is more.


Don’t Forget About Proper Grooming

Being immaculately groomed shows that you care about your appearance, and that you are taking the interview seriously.

Shoes should be polished, fingernails should be dirt-free and hair should be clean and neat. Interviewees should always come looking their best.

Photo courtesy JonoMueller