How You Should Dress for Your Job Interview

by on May 8, 2012

First impressions for a job interview are not only summarized by your confidence, attitude and communication. The largest variable is what the employer sees as you walk into the office. Your image should be a specific reflection of what the rest of your first impression will entail. Is this always the case? Can you ever be overdressed for a job interview? The answer is yes. Being overdressed or flashy can be as detrimental as being underdressed, but don’t let this worry you too much. After all, the point of the interview is to gain a greater insight to your character and skills, not your fashion sense.

The common motto is to dress for success but what is “success” to the company that is interviewing you? You can begin determining what the correct dress code is for your particular interview by either visiting the place of employment to see what others are wearing, do background research to get a better understanding of the style of the company or simply ask while talking to the employer about your interview what the work dress code is and use the same dress code for your interview.

If a dress code cannot be predicted, assume a style that requires a tie or in a woman’s case, adequate formal wear. The fact it is referred to as a “dress” code means that when you refer to what you are wearing, you would not say jeans or t-shirts but dress pants or a dress shirt. Although wearing professional clothing can do nothing to undermine your possibilities of acquiring a new job, you still need to consider what not to wear.

By creating a list of what you know you should not wear, you have a small number of options to choose from. From there you can go with your gut or pick the most professional attire that is not over-the-top. At the same time, what you wear is not the only determining factor for your appearance. It would be wise to cover up any tattoos, remove multiple piercings, and avoid carrying any accessories with you into the job interview. Don’t let your future employer catch you chewing gum while on the interview, hear your keys or phone jingle or listen to you sip coffee.

Above all, do not let any specific dress codes force you to put on a false identity. Use the knowledge you have acquired and your judgment to decide what best represents what the employer is looking for at the same time as what communicates your personality, interests and qualities.

In a job interview you are marketing yourself. Your appearance is the first quality that is taken into account on whether you will be hired or not. It can be estimated that at least 51% of the decision is based off of your appearance. This means that by dressing inappropriately, even if you nail the rest of the interview, you would still be up for rejection. Remember, your appearance may only be a supporting role in your job interview, but you should put as much effort into it as the major role.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley Stark August 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

Nice write up. One thing I would mention again is that even what may seem like the smallest of details can wind up hurting you. I have been a hiring supervisor before and sometimes if a person comes in with dirty fingernails, or chewed up nails or something it might make me think twice. I’m not saying that in itself something like that would be a dealbreaker but you don’t want to give anyone even the smallest reason to have a hesitation – because that hesitation opens the door to second guessing and worrying about other qualities of yours that may or may not be related.


Elizabetta September 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm

First impressions do last. I always tell my nieces and nephews that they have to at least wear something professional looking and to make sure that nothing in their appearance will make the interviewer think twice about hiring them. Being business like and fashionable (especially in women) can go a long way. While it is indeed our skills that will be the primary determinant if we get hired or not, what we wear during the interview can definitely impact their decision.


Nattyshirts September 29, 2012 at 12:47 am

I’m not saying that in itself something like that would be a cope buster but you do not want to provide anyone even the tiniest purpose to have a uncertainty – because that uncertainty paves the way to second wondering and concerning about other features of yours that may or may not be relevant.


Jeremy Cissell December 31, 2012 at 8:24 am

Very Nice write-up. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for giving your opinion on this.

And yes first impressions mean everything. I definitly hire more people that give me a good first impression.
Jeremy Cissell recently posted..SEO Louisville Internet Marketing 2013My Profile


Jean-Philippe Maltais January 1, 2013 at 8:42 am

All I can say is that this blog really has the real blogger’s essence in it. Natural and I like it! Keep it up man!
Jean-Philippe Maltais recently posted..Twitter’s 2012 Year In ReviewMy Profile


business communication skills March 10, 2013 at 5:29 am

agree, dressing shows our first impression. it is better to be dressed properly in interview as well as all aspects of life.


Thomas Greig May 23, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Great Post… 90% of the interview is completed in the first 10 seconds. If you get that first 10 seconds wrong, its a very difficult battle from then on.


Jake June 27, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I particularly like the stat that over half of job interviews are decided based on appearance. Don’t take the little things for granted. Look sharp, make an impression and then simply be likable. That will go a long way.


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