Your Guide to Interview Attire: What Not to Wear
Determining what to wear to a job interview, whether online or in-person, is an easily solved problem when you keep one thing in mind: dress for the job you want.
What do we mean by that? Well, if you're interviewing for a job in a warehouse, wearing a nice pair of pants and a shirt is excellent. However, suppose you're applying for a career in the professional services industry where you may be client-facing. In that case, it's best to pull out all the stops. Overall, your look should be polished and professional regardless of your interview location. The only exception to this rule is if you're participating in a virtual interview—we won't tell anyone if you choose to wear sweatpants 😉
What Not To Wear To An Interview
As we dive into what not to wear, we must remember that these are merely guidelines, not rigid rules. Of course, every situation is different, but you'll find these tips applicable to almost every interview scenario.
Dress to impress
An interview is a way to make a great impression on your prospective employer and colleagues. From the moment you walk in the door, people will be intrigued by who you are and whether or not you'll be joining their team. Therefore, it's essential to dress appropriately from your head to your toes.
Choose clothing pieces that fit your body well—there's no shame in adjusting your wardrobe for an important interview. Items that are too tight or loose may give the wrong impression.
As for shoes, be sure they match your ensemble and, most importantly, are clean. If you’re interviewing at a factory or manufacturing plant, we recommend wearing close-toed shoes in case you’re offered a tour of the facility.
When selecting your interview outfit, stay true to yourself. If you don't wear a three-piece suit to the office daily, you don't need to wear one to your interview. If you hate wearing dresses, find a pantsuit that is more authentic to who you are. In general, it's a great rule of thumb to remain true to yourself rather than dressing to fit the mold.
Choose comfortable clothing
An interview can be uncomfortable for quiet individuals or those who dislike talking about themselves. In this case, it's crucial to choose comfortable clothing. If there is a piece of clothing you find yourself constantly adjusting or feeling insecure about, leave it at home! An interview is no place for distractions, especially from your outfit. Breathable fabrics will be your best choice, including cotton, nylon, polyester, rayon, linen, silk, and Merino wool.
While you may never intentionally think to offend a prospective employer with your apparel, you can do it accidentally. Avoid wearing graphic t-shirts with inappropriate language, and ensure you adhere to any of the organization's apparent policies (e.g., if interviewing for a role within a religious organization, make sure you abide by their beliefs). Finally, select clothing that will adequately cover parts of the body. Perhaps reconsider your selection if your outfit wouldn't make the cut in a G-rated family film.
Tips For Selecting An Interview Outfit
When selecting your interview attire, choose pieces that fit the job. For example, if you're interviewing to work in a professional office environment, muted or neutral colors are best. However, if you're interviewing to be an elementary school art teacher, you should incorporate creativity and color into your wardrobe.
Avoid wearing a hat to your interview, as they are considered more casual accessories. Furthermore, your hair should have a polished look and be styled. For example, a messy ponytail might signal a carefree attitude. Instead, consider a more refined style on the day of your interview.
To put the final touches on your interview attire, bring a bag with you to hold your important documents. These items may include a portfolio of your work, printed resumes, or personal business cards to share. Either way, bringing a bag with you is a great way to hold these items. Furthermore, we encourage you to pack a bottle of water, cosmetics, or personal hygiene items (e.g., deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrush, hair comb) if you need to freshen up upon arrival. Traveling to an interview can come with a whole list of problem scenarios—it's best to prepare yourself!
Finding your next job is an adventure. From the moment you submit your application to your final interview, the nerves can get to you! Our job seeker resources help alleviate the stress. We wish you the very best of luck with your following interview. We know you'll arrive in style!
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