When it comes to the job interview, first impressions do indeed matter. The degree to which the applicants have prepared themself is first noticed by their physical appearance or appropriate attire. Someone who arrives to the interview looking slovenly and thrown together gives the impression that the job isn’t all that important to them. These candidates weren’t willing to make the effort to present themselves in their best light. Taking care to dress appropriately for a job interview sends a strong message that the candidate takes his or her career seriously, including the potential position being sought.
Once upon a time, men showed up to a job interview wearing a suit and tie. Women showed up in their skirts and cashmere sweaters, accessorized with their mother’s set of pearls. In later years, following the feminist movement of the 1970s, women dressed for job interviews rather like male applicants, with severe, masculine suits in navy and gray, tailored blouses with a little bow tied at the throat, and no-nonsense sensible shoes.
Thankfully, trends continue to evolve regarding workplace attire. These days, a wide range of attire is considered appropriate for the actual workplace, based on the work culture or industry. However, when it comes to impressing hiring managers, certain expectations persist regarding the apparel worn by an interviewee, regardless of whether the employees at the company don Hawaiian shirts and sandals. Striking the right balance between dressing for the position and acknowledging the company’s work culture takes some thought and planning.
If the applicant has no knowledge about the company culture, they can easily gain insights via reviews on Glassdoor, checking out photos on the company Facebook page or website, or reaching out to someone in one’s network who may be privy to this information. If unsure, always err on the side of caution and wear conservative, professional attire to the interview.
Appropriate Attire For Men
In most cases, businesses prefer job candidates arrive wearing a suit in navy, gray, or black. Pairing it with a crisp white or neutral shirt and a conservative tie is preferable to statement ties and brightly colored dress shirts. There is an expectation that the interviewee arrives wearing shoes that are polished, nails groomed, and facial hair clean-shaven (or neatly trimmed if sporting a beard). Clothing should be clean and pressed. Skip the cologne or aftershave, as some interviewers may have an allergic reaction.
In the event the interview is with a start-up or creative type company, business casual may be a more appropriate choice as business professional may come off as too stuffy or uptight. This means losing the suit and selecting dress slacks and a nice shirt. Once hired, you would likely be wearing jeans and t-shirts to work in this type of business environment.
Appropriate Attire For Women
The same idea applies to women, in that hiring managers prefer candidates wear a nice suit in a neutral color, pairing the jacket with either a skirt or slacks. Blouses can be a flattering color but should be conservative in styling; in no way wear sheer or low cut tops to any interview. Shoes should be low to moderate heel height, leave your 4” heels in your closet. Hair should be neatly styled, nails manicured, and make-up understated.
For a more casual, creative type workplace, a nice dress or a skirt and top are good options for an interview. Dresses or skirts should be no shorter than the knee, and skip the perfume. Once hired, women will likely wear jeans and casual dresses in this type of workplace environment.
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