What you wear to an interview is as important as what’s on your resume. We’ve all heard varying advice on the dress code for a job interview, and you probably don’t know who exactly to trust on this matter. Can you get creative? Can you show personality? Are neutral colors for interviews the only way to go?
You can choose between either dress pants or a pencil skirt with a nice blouse or button-down shirt, or a knee-length dress. While the name says casual, you want your appearance to be neat, presentable, professional, and polished.
Business casual is a term that has been tossed around for years, and for women especially, it can be difficult to decipher what exactly it means. The key to mastering business casual is finding the balance between professional attire and comfortable clothing. Women have more options than ever before when it comes to business casual attire, but there are still some guidelines that should be followed.
Firstly, opt for tailored pieces such as blazers or trousers in neutral colors like black, navy, or grey. These items will provide structure to your outfit while also being versatile enough to mix and match with other pieces in your wardrobe. Secondly, choose tops made of high-quality fabrics like cotton or silk that fit well without being too tight or revealing. It’s important to avoid anything too low-cut or sheer as these can distract from your professionalism.
Lastly, don’t forget about accessories!
For a more formal setting, you want to go with either a pantsuit, statement dress, dress pants, or pencil skirt with a nice blouse and blazer, or a knee-length dress with a blazer. You want to look as professional and business-appropriate as possible for this job interview.
First impressions matter, and dressing appropriately for a job interview is crucial to making a good one. As the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Choosing business formal attire shows that you take the interview seriously and are ready to present yourself in a professional manner.
When selecting an outfit, consider the company culture and industry. If it’s a more conservative workplace such as law or finance, opt for a dark suit with minimal accessories. For creative industries like advertising or fashion, try adding some personal style while still keeping it professional. Avoid anything too revealing or trendy as it may distract from your qualifications.
Make sure your clothes fit properly and are clean and pressed before heading out to your interview. Pay attention to small details like pairing your outfit with polished shoes and keeping jewelry minimalistic.
If you are interviewing for a creative or artistic position, you can add a bit more flair to your outfit, but keep it minimal and strategic. For example, you can add a piece of jewelry you made, more colors, or a statement bag.
What to wear to job interviews in every situation?
Recruiters and hiring managers won’t expect you to be in a full suit for an internship interview, but you should still dress professionally and strive for a good impression while still being as comfortable as possible. A pencil skirt or slacks with a nice blouse or a nice dress will show you are professional without breaking the bank.
Startup jobs are often more casual than higher-level positions. Dressing for this type of casual interview is similar to dressing for an internship. While you want to make an impression, dressing up too much could make everyone uncomfortable and show that you didn’t do your research beforehand.
When interviewing for an entry-level position, take a look at the company culture to determine how dressed up you should be. If the culture is business-casual or you can’t find the information, dress pants, a pencil skirt, and a nice blouse will be fine. If the company is business-professional, dress in a suit or dress with a blazer.
Mid-to-Senior level positions
At this point in your career, business formal is the way to go unless you know the company culture is casual. Since you will more than likely be moving up in your career in this type of interview, you want to show you are professional and ready for the new responsibility by having it reflected in your outfit.
Management and executive positions
For management or executive positions, business formal is the only way to go. You’re interviewing for a leadership position, and dressing as nicely as possible will demonstrate that you are ready for all that’s involved with your potential new title. You want to dress in a manner that conveys power and presence so recruiters know you have what it takes to lead others as soon as you walk in.
Skype or video interviews
Skype and video job interviews should be treated the same as face-to-face interviews when it comes to attire. Depending on the level of the position you are interviewing for, you should take the above tips and apply them for online interviews. You want to make sure your video interview is in a setting that is professional and appropriate for the interview; the interviewer doesn’t want to see your dirty room behind you.
This one seems odd, right? Why bother dressing nicely for this type of interview? But with phone interviews, while the recruiter can’t see you, dressing in something nice will give you a confidence boost and make you feel more professional while speaking to them.
When preparing for an interview, you want to research the company and the culture to know how to dress. If you know someone who works there, it’s fine to ask. If it’s somewhere you have been before, you can pick your interview outfit based on how you saw others dress. You want to make sure the outfit fits and is as comfortable as possible — it should make you feel confident.
Dressing appropriately will help you make a great first impression so you can wow recruiters with your accomplishments and personality. Dress to impress and you’ll rock the interview!
You have the perfect outfit picked out, but are you truly prepared for your next job interview? Talk to one of TopInterview’s coaches today and find out!
1. Wear: Blue
Many experts agree that blue is one of the best colors for interviews. In fact, the job-search website CareerBuilder hosted a study of 2,099 hiring managers and HR professionals, and blue was the most recommended outfit color for interviews. Respondents reported associating the colors for interviews with someone who’s a team player. Cornell University’s career center also says the color “implies that you are trustworthy, honest, and credible.”
Now the question becomes: What shade of blue? That doesn’t really matter — as long as it’s not blindingly bright. Navy is a classic, of course, and a light, muted blue can be nice when paired with black or navy slacks. But be careful: Sometimes muted colors can cause you to come off as passive, according to Cornell’s career center.
This color exudes confidence and trust. Blue communicates that you are a team player. Many hiring managers name this as one of the best interview colors that candidates can wear to an interview. The brighter shades are eye-catching while darker shades are good for conservative professional jobs.
2. Wear: Black
Black is a classic color, and it ranked second on CareerBuilder’s survey. Interviewers and recruiters most often associate it with leadership, while Cornell’s career center says it alludes to strength, authority, leadership abilities, and timeliness. However, because black is such a powerful color, wear it to interviews only when appropriate.
“As a high-powered color, save it for high-powered interviews,” reports fashion brand Who What Wear. “Because black can come off as powerful and aloof, it’s ideal for top jobs and managerial positions, but it’s not great if you’re applying for something in customer service, retail, or anything entry-level.”
This color represents leadership, sophistication, and exclusivity. Many companies have chosen this color for their branding to communicate that they are the leader in their industry. Because this is a high-powered color, it’s best reserved for high-powered interviews such as those for top jobs or managerial positions. It’s not an ideal color for someone interviewing for a position in retail, customer service, or entry-level.
3. Wear: Gray
Once again, gray is a great neutral color to wear for job interviews. It can portray you as a logical and analytical professional.
Just one quick tip: If you have a tendency to sweat when you get nervous (no judgment), gray might not be the best color to wear on your interview, or the big day. Sure, you can wear charcoal pants or a blazer, but avoid wearing a gray blouse or button-down since it’ll show sweat.
The color communicates that you are independent, logical, or analytical. When you wear it with confidence, it tells the hiring manager that you are an individual capable of thinking on your own. Gray also provides a solid foundation for adding small amounts of color such as a jewel-toned tie, shoes, or bag.
4. Wear: White
Honestly, interviewees can’t go wrong with white. Pair a white shirt or blouse with some navy or gray slacks, and you’re good to go. The brain sees white as a pure color and indicative of someone who’s organized, detail-oriented, and clean.
Plus, it’s easy to match — and even accessorize with a pop of colors. “Essentially, go for the classics and add a bit of personality by throwing on fun and colorful accessories such as socks, necklaces, and ties,” suggests Cornell’s career center. Wearing white or beige is a safe color and can indicate to the hiring manager that you are highly organized.
5. Consider the mix
As you’re deciding what colors to wear, it’s also important to consider what the colors combination will be when you select multiple clothing items. For example, a dark suit with a brightly colored shirt can look highly professional.
The same can be said for wearing muted gray clothing with plain shoes and a red jacket. If you do want bright clothing, consider wearing mostly neutrals with just one brightly colored accent item.
6. Avoid: Brown
This is an earthy color that communicates reliability and dependability. It’s also important to note that while it can convey solidity, it can also come across as old-fashioned, so be careful how you wear it.
Brown doesn’t give off the best vibe when it comes to job interviews either. Fast Company interviewed image and style expert Carol Davidson who said the colors do have some positive attributes; it can come off as comforting and reliable. “But in an industry that is fast-paced and innovative, it may give the impression you’re staid and passive,” she said.
Cornell’s career site also says brown implies you are “boring, simple, and slow to change.”
7. Avoid: Multi-colors
Think Patterns. Bold patterns are fun, yes, but they tend to be distracting. Purple paisley doesn’t exactly scream “Look at me! Look how professional I am!” After all, the interviewer should be focused on you — not your bold sense of fashion.
Choose solids over patterns
Because you generally want the interviewer to remember you, not your attire, it’s best to wear something that allows them to focus on your qualifications. By wearing solids, you ensure that you look professional and that your clothing isn’t a distraction. If you prefer to wear a pattern, it’s best to choose one that is small. The general rule is that if a pattern looks solid from across the room, it’s appropriate for an interview.
There’s nothing wrong with a black-and-white polka dot blouse paired with a blazer or a blue pinstripe dress shirt. Just be careful with too many colors and patterns; if they get out of hand, these can distract the interviewer.
8. Avoid: Red
This color conveys passion and power and is a good choice if you are trying to persuade someone. It has also been associated with energy, excitement, and courage. Keep in mind that red can also convey hostility and defiance. You may want to consider the role you’re seeking, such as whether it’s a leadership position, before wearing the colors for interviews.
In some cases, red works for interviews — but you have to be careful. Wearing red can portray you as powerful, according to the CareerBuilder survey. However, because it is such a high-power and high-energy color, it can become a bit jarring and overtake a room.
“Red can send less favorable messages about the candidate — that he or she is domineering, rebellious, and obstinate, for example,” Davidson told Fast Company. “There is a fine line between assertive and aggressive, and red is a risky choice for an interview.”
Rather than going all out with a red jacket, dress or blouse, consider using red as an accent color for interviews. There’s nothing wrong with a red tie or a red handkerchief for the pop of colors.
9. Yellow, green, orange, and purple
These colors can communicate that you’re fun. However, they may not be the best choice for an interview as they don’t invoke feelings of commitment and trust. Orange and green, in particular, are considered the most inappropriate colors for interviews and can come across as overly confident and unprofessional.
The dominant colors of your outfit for interviews should be neutral.
While small amounts of color, such as red, can convey authority and be appropriate for interviews and leadership positions, you should limit the number of colors. The primary colors should always be neutral colors like navy, black, gray, or brown. Brighter colors for interviews could be used as small accents only.
Dressing for a job interview can be a challenging task, especially when you want to make a good impression. The way you present yourself speaks volumes about your personality and work ethic. Thus, it’s crucial to take some time and prepare the perfect outfit that will make you stand out from the crowd.
As a women looking to dress for an interview, consider dressing conservatively while still showing off your personal style. Opt for neutral colors such as black, gray, or navy blue rather than bright and bold hues. This will show that you are professional and serious about the job opportunity.
When choosing what outfit to wear, aim for clothing that fits well and is appropriate for the industry in which you are applying. For example, if it’s an office-based job interview, choose pieces such as tailored pants or skirts paired with blouses or button-down shirts.
For a job interview, women should consider wearing professional attire that reflects the company’s culture and industry. Opt for a well-fitted suit or a conservative dress with minimal accessories. It is important to appear polished, confident, and respectful of the organization’s dress code, while also showcasing personal style and professionalism.
- Dressing appropriately for a job interview is crucial for women.
- Opt for a well-fitted, professional outfit that suits the company’s culture.
- Stick to neutral colors and avoid excessive accessories.
- Consider the industry and position you’re applying for.
- Confidence, poise, and professionalism should shine through your attire.
- Remember, first impressions matter!