For most people, job interviews are a bit tough. Aside from that, trying to decide what to wear may cause a lot of additional stress.
Should you wear something formal or business casual?
To help you figure out what to wear, here are some do’s and don’ts of interview dress code:
Table of Contents
- Check for the dress code of the company you’re interviewing for
- Dress as you would if you were interviewing in person
- Wear new clothes to look your best
- Wear clothes that fit your body
- Choose a simple style for video
- Wear simple accessories
- Avoid wearing certain colours
- Select the right colors
- Avoid certain patterns and fabrics
- Avoid too-tight clothes
- Perfume or cologne overkill
- Avoid looking underdressed
- Never show too much skin
- Skip cheap accessories
- Accessories should be minimal
- Ditch the crazy hair
- Be careful with colors
- Make sure your clothes are well-tailored to fit you and represent your personal brand
- Look the part
- Make sure it fits
- Be neat, clean and well put together
- Don’t be too casual
- Don’t wear tight or provocative clothing
- Consider the company culture and the position you are interviewing for to inform your choices of interview attire
- Dress conservatively
- Best rule to follow is to dress like the person who will interview you or one step nicer
- Do your homework about the company you’re interviewing for
- Take a clue from watching the talking heads on TV
- Make sure that the background surrounding you on your camera call is also professional-looking
- Match the job and culture of the company you are interviewing for
- Dress for the job you want
- Put your best foot forward – clean, undamaged, and winkle-free
- Keep it simple
- No scents
- Overdress just a slight bit
- Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed
- Accessorize (with balance)
- Apply common sense
- Never wear flip-flops or sneakers
- Don’t wear shorts
- Keep the designs reasonable
- Don’t show too much skin
- Choose an outfit that makes you feel great
- Accessorize with minimal, tasteful items
- Wear breathable fabrics
- Use color to express your personality
- Do your homework and find out the company’s dressing culture
- Never wear uncomfortable shoes
- Skip the perfume or cologne
- Don’t show up with wrinkles
- Don’t go too casual
- Avoid having a disorganized bag
- Follow a rule to dress just tad better than the employees
- Match the company culture
- If unsure, send a quick email to the hiring manager
- Be conservative
- Dress simply
- If in doubt, wear a suit
- Try to avoid loud colors and patterns
- Don’t carry unnecessary items in your bag
- Avoid wearing flashy or quirky colors
- Fitting means everything
- Consider the colors
- Do not over-accessorize
- Make sure you don’t match your backdrop for video interviews
- Safely dress one degree higher than the job
- Whatever you do, don’t wear a hat or sunglasses inside the building
- A smile is your best accessory
- Neatness matters a lot
- Avoid excessive display of skin
- No to loud outfits
- Dress nicer than the company dress code
- Opt for the business casual attire
- Research the company culture to get the feeling of how formal the company is
- Look neat
- Avoid flashy outfits
- Dress your age (within the dress code of the company)
TEDx Speaker | Purpose & Career Coach | Founder, Eudaimonia Coaching UK
Check for the dress code of the company you’re interviewing for
Investigate the dress code of the company or standard industry you are interviewing for. If unsure check with a recruiter and your network who is in the company or industry.
Dress as you would if you were interviewing in person
This means being properly dressed from head to toe. In case of a video interview, don’t just wear a business top while sporting your comfortable jogging pants and slippers. It won’t feel right for you! Plus, if you have to stand up for any reason, you will be in trouble.
Wear new clothes to look your best
In the video, you will look best in clothes that are new or almost new. This is because clothes that have been frequently washed or dry cleaned may look worn. The confidence that you project when you look great will have an impact.
Wear clothes that fit your body
A little too snug is better than baggy because the camera adds 10 pounds. Shapeless apparel will make you look heavier and less polished on camera.
Choose a simple style for video
Your best bet is to wear tailored, classic clothes. If that look is not your style and you prefer a high-fashion or casual look, select clothing that is simple and devoid of pattern to help the camera focus on you.
Wear simple accessories
Avoid wearing dangling earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Avoid wearing scarves or ties with large scale or intricate patterns. Some accessories may rustle or make noise that could be picked up by microphones.
Avoid wearing certain colours
Avoid sharp contrasts: rather opt for solid colored tops and jackets in light to medium shades. If you are dark-skinned, don’t wear a light-colored top. Do not wear red, magenta, or fuchsia. No white either if possible as it creates contrast – do pastels instead. Avoid wearing black, dark brown, and dark blue tops, which can interfere with how the camera focuses on nearby shades.
Select the right colors
The colors that look good for interviews are Blue, (including royal blue), Tan, Purple, Lavender, Gray.
The right tie might be wine or burgundy. The best suit or jacket might be navy – not too dark. Of course, adjust to your style and color palette.
Avoid certain patterns and fabrics
Plaid, fine or intricate patterns (e.g. paisley), Tweed, Polka dots, Stripes (even thin striped shirts or pinstripe, Metallic or sparkly fabrics, Sequins and rhinestones, and Linen (it wrinkles).
Finally, the reason why solid colors look best is that certain patterns may cause the camera to blur. Reflective fabrics also do not look good in the video. Also, do not wear anything with a logo or brand name on it.
Katherine Metres Akbar
The way you dress, accessorize and even smell constitute your personal packaging. Just as you might be more likely to buy an item that is beautifully packaged, you are more likely to be bought when you are attractively packaged.
You have to be on-brand for the organization and your target role.
What does it mean to be on-brand for the organization and your target role? You might look gorgeous dressed like Alexis in Dynasty with huge shoulder pads and lots of makeup and cleavage. But a government contractor or bank will not “buy” you, because you are off-brand.
To determine the organization’s brand, check out the photos on their website. Then dress similarly.
Avoid too-tight clothes
You might not want to admit you gained weight, but you actually look heavier and less prepared in clothes that are too small.
Perfume or cologne overkill
Probably a fresh-showered smell is the best, but if you must add fragrance, let it be not more than a drop so that the only way they will smell it is if they kiss you—in which case you should run!
Avoid looking underdressed
Just a plain cloth button-down shirt is too plain for both sexes. Both should wear at least a jacket, if not a suit. And a woman’s blouse should be silky. For men, the tie is optional, depending on how formal the sector is.
A good rule of thumb is to dress one level more formally than you would on a normal day at work.
Never show too much skin
Ladies, that skirt should reach your knee tops, at least, and you want to wear at least short sleeves and cover cleavage. Think of it like this: “the more skin, the less pay.”
Skip cheap accessories
You wore your interview suit but are carrying a backpack? Time to invest in leather or faux leather portfolio or briefcase.
Accessories should be minimal
Avoid having too many accessories. A purse and a briefcase is overkill.
Ditch the crazy hair
This is a tough one right now when COVID-19 has put haircutters off-limits, but make sure your hair is smooth, not frizzy, and in a polished style, not trendy. If in doubt, shorter or at least put up is better on both sexes, especially as you age.
Hair does not have to be colored to cover gray, but roots or abnormal colors like purple are a no-no.
Be careful with colors
I do recommend wearing some color—perhaps a red, blue, green, or purple tie for men with a gray or blue suit, and a brightly colored (but solid) blouse for women along with a dark suit.
Women have more leeway and can even do a brightly colored jacket, as long as the rest of the outfit is muted.
Make sure your clothes are well-tailored to fit you and represent your personal brand
Don’t know what your personal brand is? Consult a stylist if you can afford it. If your personal brand is bohemian, but your target employer is very formal, now you have an interesting dilemma.
Of course, you have to wear a conservative business dress for the interview, but you should also consider whether you are in the right field for your free-spirited self.
Finally, don’t forget that your attitude is far more important than your attire! Finish that tailored suit with a beautiful smile and some friendly banter, and your first impression will take you far.
Anne Corley Baum
President, Vision Accomplished
Look the part
When you present an image that matches the role for which you are interviewing, the interviewer can better imagine you performing the job
Make sure it fits
Be comfortable in the clothes you are wearing and make sure you can stand, sit, walk and move without major adjustments.
Be neat, clean and well put together
Take time to iron your clothes, brush/style your hair, repair seams, sew in buttons, etc. Don’t skimp on the little things, subliminally, it sends a message that quality is not important to you.
Don’t be too casual
It’s always better to be over rather than under dressed. When you dress too casually, you send the message that you don’t really care about the job.
When you obviously have made an effort to dress for the interview, it shows that this job is an important priority.
Don’t wear tight or provocative clothing
Your clothes shouldn’t present a distraction from what you have to offer to the job. Showing too much skin, cleavage or other body parts through tight or see-through clothing sends the wrong message about who you are and why you are there. You want to be recognized for your knowledge, intellect, and leadership.
Senior Career Advisor, Tulane University School of Professional Advancement
“Dress for the job that you want.”
This has been stated for years. But what does that actually mean? My advice is to dress for the job you are pursuing and the confidence you want to exude.
There isn’t one definitive answer to the question of what to wear during a job interview.
Certainly, there are items you should wear and items you should not wear, but it is more important to represent your understanding of the position you are interviewing for and show your professionalism.
I’ve been on interview committees where interviewees were dressed casually and the first thing that came to mind was, they didn’t care enough about the position to dress in professional attire. But other interview panelists thought the interviewees were fantastic and had no problem with the individuals were wearing. So, it’s really subjective.
In many cases, it depends on who is interviewing you and you can’t know that individual’s perception of how one should dress during an interview. However, there are some rules one should consider when dressing for a job interview.
Consider the company culture and the position you are interviewing for to inform your choices of interview attire
Expressing yourself as an ideal candidate for the position is the strategy that is most important. But be cognizant of the fact that the majority of employers still expect interviewees to dress in a suit for an interview even though the company’s culture is a casual environment.
Interviewers pay intention to how an interviewee dresses to consider if that person would be a good representative of their company.
What you would normally wear to work is not typically what you would wear to a job interview. Companies have different cultures from business professional to casual environments, but that doesn’t mean your interview attire should emulate company culture especially if it is casual.
Dress professionally during an interview and once you get the job, you can dress according to company culture.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts that remain standard interview practices:
- Men should wear a neatly pressed shirt, tie, and jacket or a suit
- Women should wear a suit or a very professional dress
- Do not wear anything you’d wear to a bar or club.
- Do not wear jeans, short skirts, polo shirts, gym clothes, or other casual attire.
Remember, first impressions are lasting and could very well be the determining factor in getting the job you desire.
Associate Prof. of Management & Human Resources (Retired)
First impressions can be made quite quickly. (In fact, some research suggests that judgments are formed in seven seconds or less!)
And how folks are dressed (and groomed) is likely the first thing that hiring managers will notice. So candidates can definitely handicap themselves if they dress “inappropriately” for any job interview.
While I’m now retired, as somebody who played a big role in hiring both business faculty and private-sector managers, my colleagues and I believed that it was unlikely that we’d ever see our candidates better groomed and dressed than they were when they initially walked into our interviews.
So job applicants should take that to heart, and dress in a way that will make a lasting “first impression.” And in my opinion, the safest way to do that is to dress conservatively.
In my mind, “dressing conservatively” means:
- Wearing one’s best suit (and this applies to both men and women).
- Wearing a blouse or dress shirt that complements one’s suit.
- Wearing leather shoes that complement one’s suit in color and style.
- Wearing stockings that are appropriate for the suit being worn.
- Limiting the amount of jewelry being worn (and removing any visible piercings).
- Covering all body art as much as possible.
- Avoiding strong perfumes and colognes.
- Arriving at the interview after a recent appointment with a hairstylist or barber.
Finally, men should wear a conservative tie that complements their suits, and women should avoid short skirts, blouses with revealing necklines and heavy make-up.
By following those guidelines, I believe that candidates can ensure they’ll make a solid first impression.
Michael Mercer, Ph.D.
Best rule to follow is to dress like the person who will interview you or one step nicer
For example, when applying for a professional, sales or management job, dress in nice business suit with tie or nice dress.
One technique is to go to company’s parking lot or building, and see how people who look like they might interview you are dressed.
For example, years ago when I was a corporate manager, I was contacted by a headhunter who scheduled me to get interviewed at a big, famous, prestigious company.
The day before my job interview, I drove to that company’s parking lot. I quickly observed the males who looked like executives were wearing blue suits, white shirts, and solid red ties. So, the next day I went to my job interview wearing blue suit, white shirt, and solid red tie.
Literally, the first words out of my interviewer’s mouth were: “Wow! You look like you belong here!!”
So, do a little homework by seeing first-hand how your potential interviewer dresses. And then dress like that.
President, Executive Search
Do your homework about the company you’re interviewing for
Search the web for as much information you can gather about the company interested in talking to you and research the interviewer’s name as well. If you can get a sense of the approximate age of your interviewer, that may be a clue. Remember that older is generally more conservative. Think of your parents here.
The things you learn can help you to gauge the style of the business you wish to join and then, act accordingly. If the company makes surfboards perhaps a casual look would be appropriate but a law firm? Not so much.
Take a clue from watching the talking heads on TV
They may be wearing shorts and flip flops below the camera’s view but on their top half, you’ll generally see tidy shirts, tops, and jackets. They don’t wear jewelry that fights for attention either.
Hair and make up should be tidy too. While you are talking from the shelter of home, your appearance should be what you would have worn to walk into their office.
Make sure that the background surrounding you on your camera call is also professional-looking
This should not be distracting from you. Zoom allows you to select a scenic backdrop for instance and if all else fails, a blank wall is better than a messy living room. Sit up straight and look right into the camera.
Professional Recruiter, Summit Search Group
As a professional and executive recruiter, I’ve seen it all! Candidates who dress poorly and candidates who overdress for their interview.
Match the job and culture of the company you are interviewing for
It may sound complex to figure this out but there are many creative ways! Find someone else who works for that company, or worked for them in the past.
Reach out to them on LinkedIn and mention that you have an interview lined up and you wouldn’t mind touching base with them – ask for a 5min phone call! Who can say no to that?
If you’re working with a recruiter, definitely bring this up. The gold standard is to overdress for an interview, however I’ve seen candidates in full suits and ties get turned down as they were too formal and stuffy. So overdressing can also have its downsides. If you find out it’s a “shirt and pants” workplace, take it one step further. Add a tie or a jacket, not both.
Looking professional is what is most important. Ensure your shoes are clean, clothes pressed, and avoid any strong scents as this can turn people off.
Dress professional, match the culture and land the job!
Lifestyle Expert, Functional Girl
Below are a few of my non-negotiables for interview outfits:
Dress for the job you want
It doesn’t matter if you’re interviewing for an entry-level position, dress like you’re interviewing for the C-Suite.
If you don’t have a professional wardrobe and can’t afford to purchase an interview outfit, get resourceful – check out the local thrift stores, job assistance organizations, and hit up your family and friends.
Put your best foot forward – clean, undamaged, and winkle-free
There’s a great “talking stain” commercial that perfectly captures why your clothes must be clean, undamaged, and wrinkle-free. I advise keeping a stain stick on you just in case.
And don’t forget your shoes, a hiring manager once told me they look at the candidate’s shoes to see if their well-groomed appearance is really their MO or if they’re putting on a show.
Keep it simple
Your hair, make-up, and accessories should not draw attention from your interview. Remember, simple doesn’t have to mean boring.
They want to see your personality and you can show it through your style – but know your audience, e.g. a tech startup vs. an accounting firm.
You never know who might be allergic or if their ex wore the same perfume or cologne. If you smoke, make sure there isn’t a trace of it on you as many companies will no longer hire smokers.
If you smoke in your house, I suggest dry cleaning your outfit and keeping it sealed until you put it on – preferably freshly showered at a non-smoker’s house.
Sr. Vice President, Talascend
Research the company you will be interviewing with. What is the dress attire? Is it business casual? Does it have a more formal stringent dress code?
Check out Glassdoor to see what you can find out. Also, check out all social media feeds and LinkedIn for information. While on LinkedIn, see if you have any mutual connections with anyone that works at the company you are interviewing with. Reach out and get their thoughts on dress code, company culture, etc.
Based on what you have found out, plan your dress attire for the interview.
- Dress neatly whether business casual or more formal business attire.
- Don’t wear wrinkled, dirty or smelly clothes.
- Keep jewelry simple. Don’t wear large, bright jewelry or jewelry that jingles constantly.
- Keep style simple and classic – whether business casual or more formal. Some examples might be black, navy or neutral-colored pants or skirt, twin sweater set, simple blouse or shirt, button-down, pressed khaki pants, polo style shirt tucked in with a belt.
- Avoid low cut clothing or skirts that are too short, jeans, no tennis shoes, flip flops, sandals, t-shirts.
- Always air on the side of overdressed than underdressed. This is the first impression and you want it to be a positive one.
Career Expert, My Perfect Resume
Overdress just a slight bit
Better safe than sorry is definitely applicable here. Depending on the industry, look to match the general vibe of the office with 10-20% more conservative.
Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed
A no brainer you’d think. Alas, we’d have instances when this intuitive rule of thumb was forgotten.
Accessorize (with balance)
Simplicity and minimalism win the day. As accent here or there is ideal, no one wants to see you wearing your whole jewelry collection. After all, it’s your personality, work experience, and skill set that should be shining and not your diamond-studded golden watch.
Apply common sense
What would I wear to impress someone? Be on the side of professional (whilst accounting for the industry) and you’ll be just fine. Make them remember you for your achievements and not your wardrobe.
Never wear flip-flops or sneakers
It’s tacky, unprofessional and far too casual.
Don’t wear shorts
I know that it might be sweltering outside and the company doesn’t mind, but still, it’s a bit too much skin for the first time around.
Keep the designs reasonable
A little eccentricity and personal flair are always recommended, but going overboard like you’re trying to compete with Lady Gaga from 2010 is just a no-go.
Don’t show too much skin
This goes for everyone – tank tops, etc. Looking like you’re about to leave for spring break screams immaturity so please think twice before you embarrass yourself.
Joanna Lovering, MA
Founder and CEO, Copper + Rise
Choose an outfit that makes you feel great
Invest in a garment that makes you feel like a superhero. There’s nothing like walking into an interview wearing something that makes you feel great every single time you put it on.
Accessorize with minimal, tasteful items
As long as they aren’t distracting, they’ll help pull the outfit together. Don’t forget to check to see if accessories are noisy–do your bracelets clank together when you make gestures? Even if it’s minor, it could be distracting to you, so opt for items with no noise factor.
Wear breathable fabrics
I don’t know about you, but doing a job interview while sweating in a wool sweater does not sound appealing. Light, breathable fabrics like cotton and polyester will keep you much more comfortable.
Use color to express your personality
A little pop of color (think a color necklace, tie, or top) will help you look more energized and be more memorable in general.
Do your homework and find out the company’s dressing culture
Level-up by 1 step for your interview. If everyone wears jeans and a tee, then perhaps jeans and a blouse. Your interviewer will easily see you fitting in and that you’re ready to work the next day!
Never wear uncomfortable shoes
If your feet are killing you, it’ll distract you from giving your best answers under pressure.
Skip the perfume or cologne
You might hear from other articles that you can still wear it, just not to “overdo” it…but you’re still taking a risk.
You’ll never be able to know ahead of time if your interviewer is allergic, and that’s an uncomfortable situation. (I learned this one the hard way!) Some workplaces are also now going fragrance-free, so it’s a safer bet to skip perfume or cologne altogether.
Don’t show up with wrinkles
Forget an iron (I don’t even own one!)–purchase a travel steamer to get rid of the literal kinks the night before your interview.
Don’t go too casual
Even if you’re interviewing at a cool start-up where everyone’s wearing free t-shirts, level up for an interview.
Avoid having a disorganized bag
The last thing you want to be doing is haphazardly searching through your bag in order to find a pen.
Career Expert, Zety
Dressing up for interviews is about matching the company culture.
It’s as simple as that. If you’re invited to an interview, you most likely already know the type of work culture the company lives by.
But if not, or just in case, do a little research. Most businesses have a Facebook page or have an Instagram profile, where you can get a taste of their vibe. If not, feel free to ask the interviewer about the company’s attire.
Follow a rule to dress just tad better than the employees
If you’re getting a job at a chilled-out startup or tech industry where everyone wears flip-flops and sweatpants – don’t go that far. Instead, wear a clean one-colored t-shirt, blazer, and jeans. Other industries ― such as law firms, corporate sales, or banks respond positively to suit.
If you have no clue what company culture you’re dealing with, go with a safe option. Depending on the type of job you’re applying for, you can guess which outfit would be a safe option here.
Follow general rules – don’t wear flashy colors, don’t expose too much, don’t exaggerate with make-up, perfumes, and accessories. Wash your hair beforehand and finish off your outfit with a confident smile.
Resume Expert | Career Advice Writer, ResumeLab
Around 65 percent of recruiters argue that the clothes you wear to a job interview are the critical factor that determines whether you get the position or get passed over.
That’s why if you want to increase your chances of landing a job, you want to think long and hard about what you’ll wear to a job interview.
Match the company culture
Generally, when you think about the clothes to wear to an interview, you want to match the company culture.
If you’re looking to secure a job in a corporate environment, you should go for professional attire: a suit and tie for men or a suit and dress for women. That said, if it’s a startup a-la Zuckerberg, you’d better off with business casual.
If unsure, send a quick email to the hiring manager
If you aren’t sure what to wear to a job interview, I recommend sending a quick email to your hiring manager to ask them about the dress code.
Alternatively, you could skim through the company’s social media profiles to see what their employees generally wear.
Director of Operations, My Corporation
Many job interviews will be conducted in a virtual space from here on out, but there are still interview apparel etiquette guidelines that must be followed. You will still need to dress, top to bottom, for the interview in appropriate apparel.
- Fit is a must ‘do’ for your look. Your interview outfit must fit you properly and should be tailored accordingly.
- Do not wear an excessive amount of makeup for the interview. Keep the makeup you do wear fresh and appropriate for a video conference.
- Do not wear any blouses or tops that are see-through.
- While your shoes may not be seen during a virtual interview, you should still wear a pair of polished, work-appropriate shoes — just in case something happens and you need to get up and they are spotted (or not spotted if you don’t have shoes on!).
- If you wear a dress for the interview, opt for a shirtdress. It’s comfortable and work-appropriate in fit, form, and length.
- Style your hair simply.
- File your fingernails beforehand and wear a tasteful shade of nail polish.
- Do not wear clothing that has visible rips, tears, or stains on them.
- Keep any jewelry worn to a tasteful minimum, like a simple ring or pearl necklace.
- Remember to be mindful of your posture! Sit upright and do not slouch.
- Smile as you speak — and remember to brush your teeth before the interview begins if you have not done so already.
Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, ServGrow
Dress codes vary depending on the industry, company, and location, so it’s better to research the company to determine how formal their workplace is.
You should choose an interview outfit that meets the interviewers’ expectations of how candidates should dress. But when you are in doubt, it’s better to go conservative because it is rarely appropriate to “dress down” for an interview, regardless of company dress code policy.
Wearing a suit and tie, or dress and heels, you will make a much better impression than a candidate dressed in jeans and sneakers. No matter what you are wearing, your clothing should always be neat, clean, and pressed.
It’s crucial to stay up-to-date with current styles, but you should avoid bright or unusual colors, stay away from clothing that shows off too much skin, and keep your accessories to a minimum. Keep your outfit simple because you want the interviewer to focus on you and your skills and not your attire.
Owner, Hosting Data UK
Dress appropriately for the position and industry you’re interviewing for. Don’t be afraid to consult with the hiring manager or recruitment consultant who has arranged the interview, better to be prepared than turn up completely underdressed!
If in doubt, wear a suit
Even if you’re applying for a job at the coolest tech start-up, a sharp suit will ensure you look professional and that you’re taking the interview seriously.
Try to avoid loud colors and patterns
You want to be remembered for nailing the interview, rather than the guy that wore a florescent pink tie!
Remember that it doesn’t just end with what you’re wearing, first impressions are hugely important and you need to consider the bag you’re carrying, any accessories, your wallet, and so on.
Don’t carry unnecessary items in your bag
Opt for something understated and don’t fill your bag with unnecessary items, there’s not much worse than reaching for your resume and pulling out yesterday’s breakfast wrapper.
Founder, EpicWin App
Avoid wearing flashy or quirky colors
These can be colors such as orange, red, or anything neon, among others. Opt for a solid and neutral color scheme.
Doing so will impose professionalism and confidence. This will also allow interviewers to focus on your skills and qualifications rather than being distracted by your attire.
Fitting means everything
Ensure your attire fits well on your body and is not too baggy—which can make an applicant look unenergetic.
Consider the colors
Remember to always match the belt with your shoes. When in doubt, choose blue pieces, which is one of the power colors in business.
Do not over-accessorize
Just like an overdone makeup, too much accessory during an interview creates a distraction and does not scream professional that well.
An interview is an opportunity to showcase your skills and qualifications and make a long-lasting impression. Hence, you should want to stand out for the right reasons.
Alison Henderson, R-MPACC, GL-CMA
CEO and Founder, Moving Image Consulting
Make sure you don’t match your backdrop for video interviews
Interviewers often forget to think about the background of where they will be sitting. When you match your backdrop, we can’t see your gestures as well and you are a “floating head” on the screen. If you are sitting in a big black office chair, don’t wear a black suit. Likewise, if you are against a beige wall, avoid wearing beige.
Jewel tones to help you pop off your background are best when you only have a box on someone’s screen for your first impression. This is the one time you actually know your interview environment and can plan your color choices for it.
CEO, Robben Media
Safely dress one degree higher than the job
For example, if you’re interviewing for an entry-level marketing position and you know the company wears t-shirts and jeans, wear a button-down and khaki pants. If you’re interviewing at a law firm, no matter how casual they are, dress in a suit and tie.
It’s far better to put on your best as a sign of respect and your seriousness than show up underdressed looking like a jerk.
Whatever you do, don’t wear a hat or sunglasses inside the building
Any distractions like these only hurt you. You want the focus to be on your qualifications and skills.
A smile is your best accessory
And lastly, many people forget the number one thing they can do to improve their appearance and that’s to smile.
A smile is the best accessory to any outfit. It evokes confidence and friendliness. These are qualities you want your interviewer to see early and often.
Lead Project Engineer, Tacuna Systems
First of all, looks matter. While there is no cut out dress code for interviews, noting the following subtle facts will help keep you on the safe side.
Neatness matters a lot
Going for an interview with unkempt hair, beards, nails are a really bad idea. It immediately gives the impression of a lack of organization skills. Also, creases on your clothes are interpreted negatively. Always appear neatly dressed.
Avoid excessive display of skin
For men, long sleeves are always a better option. Also, don’t ever show up for an interview in shorts or with your shirt buttoned down to reveal your chest.
For ladies, Obviously, only the extra short skirts are problematic. A skirt of reasonable length is wonderful. Exposure of the cleavage and much skin is subconsciously seen as unprofessional.
No to loud outfits
Outfits with a lot of colors or patterns often draw attention away from you as a person. Clothes of this kind can distract the interviewer. The same goes for excessive jewelry and clothes with inscriptions.
If you must wear apparel with inscriptions, then let the inscription be about something meaningful or work related. Wear solid colours.
It is always important to know what type of job you are applying for and how to dress appropriately for the interview.
Dress nicer than the company dress code
Often times, before having an in-person interview, there is some sort of phone screening that helps employers decide whether or not they want to bring a person into the office for an interview.
If this is the case, always ask what the dress code is. This will cover all the bases and will guarantee that you are dressing appropriately for the position.
If the employer says they are casual and to dress, however, maybe where some tan pants with a business casual blouse or an appropriate dress. If they say it is a business casual office, wear dress pants with a nice blouse and a blazer.
Do not wear distressed denim, anything too flashy, flip flops, or shorts. A good rule of thumb is to dress slightly nicer than the dress code current employees are adhering to.
SVP of People Strategy, Vettery
It’s important to stay professional for job interviews, especially while on video. You’re still making a first impression! Check out the company’s website and other social media pages to get a feel for the culture and dress code.
Opt for the business casual attire
In most cases, business casual attire – whether that’s a dress shirt, blouse, or blazer – is your best bet.
Find a comfortable, quiet spot with a neutral background where you will not be interrupted for the duration of the interview. These small investments show employers that you’re taking the interview seriously and are comfortable in an office environment.
Co-Founder, Modern Gentlemen
Research the company culture to get the feeling of how formal the company is
Recruiters want to hire people who are fitting in a team, and your interview attire will make the first impression of your ability to fit in. If you know anyone who works there, ask about what would be best to wear on your interview.
Don’t have an interview uniform to wear at every interview. Base your dress-code on the kind of a company you’re applying at.
Regardless of the formality of your interview dress code, it would be best to look like you’ve paid special attention to your appearance. Come to the interview freshly showered, with a nice haircut, waxed beard (if you’re a man), and clean hair.
Don’t show up in clothes with stains, with wrinkles and stale smell. Don’t look like you don’t care about the outcome!
An interview isn’t the best time to assert your flamboyant personality (leave that for the first day of work!). Think of your dress-code as a neutral background, showing just enough care, but being less important than what you have to say in the conversation.
Avoid flashy outfits
Don’t wear flashy colors and designs (unless you’re applying at Vogue) to your interview, wear something “smart,” like a neat shirt, pants or skirt, nice, polished shoes, or flats-to-middle heels.
Quality and Regulatory Professional | Biomedical Engineering Student, Duke University
Dress your age (within the dress code of the company)
Believe me when I say I looked absolutely ridiculous for my first internship interview in college. I, an 18-year-old teenager, wore my mother’s work outfits — the full pantsuit from the 90s.
I actually picked this tip up from a session about confidence and authenticity. Now it seems obvious: when you dress older — or even just as someone you are not– you psychologically appear to be more inauthentic.
When I dressed in my mother’s work clothes I did not look professional and ready to work — I looked like a kid trying to be an older business professional who I clearly wasn’t.
Now, for interviews I wear professional clothes that I find stylish, and that fit my age group.. i.e Lighter pants with a light blazer, and small accessories. This makes me more confident going into the interview, and for the interviewer I come across as more authentic, because I am acting like myself — not an imposter.
I am no longer a student trying to be an adult. I am a student who is professional and ready to work and bring a new creative freshness into the company while maintaining professionalism.
Because honestly, who was I fooling when I dressed like my mom, my interviewer knew I would be 18, and my interviewer was expecting an 18-year-old — anything else is ultimately suspicious. Meanwhile, authenticity is so important in an interview just as being yourself is.