Don’t allow what you dress to an interview sway a hiring manager’s choice.
You’ve rehearsed answering typical interview questions, nailed your elevator pitch, and printed extra copies of your meticulously edited and typo-free résumé. Now all you have to do is make sure you know what to dress to a job interview and look the part, which isn’t always as easy as it appears.
“You must do your study well before the interview to find out if you even need to wear a suit and tie, or maybe dress down a little,” says Bill Gentry, High Point University’s director of career and professional development. He recommends researching the company’s website and speaking with people you know who work there about the culture, workplace, and dress code.
“If you see that everyone is wearing a suit, you should as well.” “If everyone else is wearing jeans and flip-flops, dress one level above,” Gentry advises.
If you’ve decided to wear a suit to your interview, you’ll still need to limit down the many colours, patterns, and accessories to pick from before you’re ready to create a good impression. Don’t be concerned. We’ve conferred with professionals to assist you figure out what to dress to a job interview.
If the dress code for the interview is purely business,
“The idea is to wear a dark-colored suit [navy, dark gray/charcoal, or black] with a white shirt for positions in finance and investment banking, management consulting, law, or government,” says Julia Rock, founder of the Houston-based career-coaching business Rock Career Development. “Instead of the basic white shirt, you may integrate some colour, but avoid loud or extremely bright hues [red or orange].”
To a formal workplace, men should wear a tie. Choose a solid colour or one with a basic design (such as stripes), rather than one that has the interviewer more interested in figuring out why your tie has bulldogs on it than in what you studied in grad school.
If informal interview dress is preferred,
“If you’re applying for a creative profession, like advertising, journalism, or fashion, you might not even need to wear a suit,” says Annette Harris, president and creator of the Washington, D.C.–based personal-brand coaching business ShowUp! “Wearing suit pieces may suffice. Mix and match trousers, skirts, and blazers for a polished, professional look.”
Even if you’re applying to a position where the CEO usually wears jeans, a T-shirt, and a hoodie—look at you, Mark Zuckerberg—you should dress more professionally than your boss or even your boss’s boss. If you’re interviewing for a senior position, you should still look the part, but you may push the envelope a little if you’re comfortable with it. “Stick with a suit, but feel free to use edgier hues like royal blue or purple, less conventional designs, and ‘pop’ accessories to reflect your creative abilities,” Harris advises.
It’s not enough to master the shirt-and-suit mix when it comes to choosing professional and polished interview attire. You must also connect everything. If you put on shoes, a baseball cap, four-inch heels, or flashy costume jewellery, your interview suit will be destroyed in a second.
“Choose a tie, scarf, or other accessories that match the event but don’t shout, ‘Look at me!'” advises Stacey Berk, founder and managing consultant of the Maryland-based human resources–strategy business Expand HR Consulting. “Combining polished low-heel shoes with a briefcase or portfolio (resume and references inside!) completes the appearance.”
How to Make Yourself Stand Out
While knowing what to dress to a job interview can undoubtedly help you create a good first impression, the secret to nailing a job interview lies mostly in your responses to the hiring manager’s queries. It isn’t a fashion show, after all. Do you want to be sure you’re all set in that department? Join Monster for free right now. As a member, you’ll receive career counselling and job hunt recommendations delivered right to your email, allowing you to put your best (polished) foot forward. You’ll learn how to construct crisp, insightful responses to queries like “Why should we employ you?” and “Do you have any questions for us?” as well as whatever else they throw at you. Then you’ll have to decide what you’re going to wear to the following interview.