What To Wear To A Job Interview – Style Guide For Women
Dressing right for the job interview is easier said than done. Here’s how to decide what to wear and when.
Getting dressed can be a stressful task, especially when there’s an interview involved. Not only do you want to appear professional, but you also want to look like a good fit for the company and its culture. Unfortunately, there’s no wonder outfit to suit all scenarios. Instead, you need to tailor your clothing choices to the type of interview and the business type. Below we have a few important styling tips that will help you decide on what to wear to your next job interview.
Deciding what to wear, when
You’ve likely heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want,” but it’s also important to dress for the company for which you want to work. While a suit used to be the universal standard, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
Lately, it seems like the hoodie culture of the Silicon Valley start-up world has replaced the boxy pantsuits of the Wall Street glory days. However, many industries still remain fairly traditional. While many companies are relaxing their dress codes, a lot of industries, such as finance and law, expect you to be on your suit A-game when you come in for an interview.
Because there are no hard and fast rules anymore, your best bet is to do your homework ahead of time to figure out what the standard dress code would be for the role and company at which you’re interviewing.
6 Tips For Dressing for Success
Because every company is different in what they consider appropriate workplace attire; here are some tips to ensure you dress for success every time.
Do your homework.
Don’t know much about the company? Tranen founder of Schtick, suggests engaging in a little light internet stalking to find out what the dress code is. Go on the company’s website, for example, to see if there are photos and videos of employees. This can give you insight into the company’s overall vibe. Model yourself accordingly. It’s also OK to ask a friend at the company or seek out alumni from your college who may work there to gain insight.
Err on the side of overdressing.
A good rule of thumb is to dress one level above what folks at the company wear on a day-to-day basis. For example, if they are business casual then it’s best to break out that suit collecting dust in the back of your closet.
Pay attention to details.
Make sure you always look polished. In other words, don’t show up in wrinkled, stained, ripped, or ill-fitting clothing. Comb your hair, and check to make sure none of this morning’s spinach omelet ended up in your teeth. Consider keeping a small grooming kit with you for any last-minute touch-ups you may need.
Keep it simple.
You want the interviewer to focus on you, not your attire. Avoid distracting an interviewer by embracing a simple approach to interview attire. That means going easy on the jewelry, makeup, hair, and clothing. Stay away from “outrageous” colors and patterns, as well as pieces that show off too much skin. Let your awesomeness speak for itself through the answers you give throughout the interview. But that doesn’t mean you have to be boring, however. You should invest in a good, classic handbag or briefcase; that can fit your interview materials comfortably and will make you feel both organized and stylish.
Put the perfume away.
Once you’ve showered, shaved and applied deodorant, avoid the urge to “bathe yourself in cologne or perfume. You want to be remembered for your skills. Not your scent.
Have a dress rehearsal.
It is recommended to always trying on your interview clothes before the day of the interview to prevent any possible wardrobe malfunctions. If things don’t fit right anymore, if your go-to jacket is missing a button, or if the shirt you love is wrinkled, it gives you time to troubleshoot.
Decoding dress codes
Sometimes even asking about the dress code can still leave you confused. For instance, you might hear that a company is “business professional.” But what’s the difference between that and business casual? Or if a company describes its dress code as “casual,” how do you know what’s too casual? Here’s a cheat sheet to deciphering some of the most common office dress codes:
What to Wear to an Internship Interview
Internships are an important part of developing your career, and you should treat them as such. So, if you want to nab the position that’ll set you on the right path, you need to dress the part. What you wear to your internship interview will largely depend on the type of company to which you’re applying to work for. If the business is formal, a white shirt and black pants will make an excellent option. If the company is a start-up, on the other hand, you can be more creative and casual. In most cases, an outfit that appears professional and smart without seeming stuffy will be perfect.
What to Wear to a Casual/Informal Interview
Don’t make the mistake of heading to an interview with a casual dress code in your lounge-wear or gym clothes. To make a good impression at any job, you still need to appear polished and neat. As such, dressing up just a little will ensure you don’t look sloppy and may help you get the position. While there’s no need for a suit, wearing a blouse with a pair of pants or a pencil skirt is an excellent idea.
What to Wear to a Business Interview
For a business dress code, it’s best to keep your look basic and conservative. Save your new favorite fashion trends for the weekend and wear something a little more office-appropriate instead. Tailored pants or a pencil skirt paired with a shirt and blazer makes an excellent choice. Alternatively, a structured dress can also look good, as long as it’s suitable for the office. When it comes to colors, navy, and dark grey both make excellent choices and appear a little more approachable than black.
What to Wear to a Formal Interview
An interview with a formal dress code requires a dressed-up version of your best office wear. In other words, a pantsuit is a perfect choice. Partner it with high heels and a collared shirt for an outfit that’ll leave you looking professional and powerful. To keep the overall aesthetic sharp and sophisticated, stick to a neutral color palette. Black, white, and grey all make excellent choices for formal interviews and can be worn as block hues or as part of a traditional check or stripe pattern.
What to Wear for a Skype/Video Interview
The rule “dress to impress” doesn’t go out the window just because your interview will be via Skype rather than in person. You still want to impress, so a sophisticated look is a must. Don’t think that you can get away with sweat pants either. If your interviewer gets a glimpse of them, your chances of getting the job will be ruined. Also, be mindful not to choose any distracting clothes. Patterns, large jewelry, and low-cut tops can all appear a little too much when only seen from the waist up. Likewise, vibrant shades, such as red and magenta, can seem too bright on video but cool colors, such as navy and sky blue, will look fantastic.
What to Wear to a Job Interview in the Summer
Dressing for a job interview in summer requires balance. You need to pick an outfit that will appear polished while allowing you to stay cool and sweat-free. As such, it’s best to choose garments made from lightweight fabrics. Selecting a skirt or dress will also help you beat the heat while looking sophisticated. Just remember not to show too much skin, or you may risk appearing unprofessional. Also, consider opting for light colors over dark shades to give your look a nice summery feel.
What Colors Should You Wear to an Interview?
The right colors can convey your confidence and professionalism, so it’s important to know which the best to wear is. Navy, grey, and black tend to be the top choices for suits and dresses while white works well for shirts. Brown and other neutral hues, like beige, can also work well for office environments and are preferable over bright colors. Bright hues, such as red, convey authority and should be avoided unless you’re interviewing for a managerial position. If you do want to add color to your look, stick to pale shades like light blue.
Can I Wear Jeans to a Job Interview?
In general, it’s best to avoid wearing jeans to a job interview. Jeans can easily appear under-dressed, especially when worn in a business or formal setting. The only time you should wear jeans to an interview is if you know the company culture is highly casual. Even then, be sure to choose a dark wash in a slim cut without any rips and pair it with more formal pieces, such as a blouse, blazer, and heels.
Can I Wear a Dress to a Job Interview?
For most interviews, a dress can make an appropriate outfit choice. You just need to be careful to select a style that’s right for the office. Most importantly, the length needs to be suitable and not too short. A tailored dress that finishes at the knees is always a good choice and will project an appropriate appearance. Just be sure to stick to neutral colors for formal settings and consider covering bare arms with a blazer.
How to Wear Your Hair for a Job Interview
Like your outfit, it’s important to pick a professional hairstyle that suits the job for which you’re applying. Luckily, there are plenty of options that can work for all lengths of hair. No matter what style you choose, just make sure that it is simple and neat. Doing so will ensure that your interviewer’s attention is on your answers and not your locks.
What to Wear to an Interview
After all, interviews are all about showing yourself in the best possible light, and your interview outfit is part of that. Showing up to an interview polished and dressed appropriately for the role you are interviewing will show that you put effort into yourself and into understanding the organization’s culture. A good interview outfit can help with your confidence going into the interview. If you feel great on the outside it will calm the inner crazy person shrieking insecurities inside your head.” says Heather Tranen, founder of Schtick, which offers career coaching and personal branding.
What to Wear to an Interview
- Before an interview, research the dress code and the culture of the company.
- Don’t forget that casual and informal interviews still require a sophisticated and smart outfit, such as a pencil skirt and blouse.
- For a formal or business interview, a suit or pants and a blazer is always a good option.
- If your interview is via video, avoid wearing patterns, bold jewelry, and low-cut tops.
- Stick to colors that convey professionalism, such as navy, grey, and black.