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What you wear to a job interview can make a lasting first impression. And you want it to be a GREAT first and lasting impression.

While sweatpants, flip-flops or a denim jacket may express the real you and show your creative flair, they won’t make the cut at a job interview. The objective is to wear attire that will “impress” rather than “express.”

8 Savvy Attire Tips For Any Job Interview

Here are eight savvy attire tips that are generally accepted for any job interview. Implementing these tips demonstrates your awareness of professionalism and will help give a great first and lasting impression at your next job interview.

  1. Dress for the company’s corporate culture. Before the interview, research the company online to learn about their corporate culture and to see how employees dress for this industry. Most company websites include photos of the higher-ups as well as group shots.
  2. Dressing up versus dressing down. Even though many workplaces have become more casual, dark suits are generally acceptable for both men and women at interviews, no matter how casual the company culture is.
  3. Avoid attire that is overly revealing, wrinkled or torn. The worst attire faux pas for women is too much skin, too tight and too short. The more skin, the less respect. No cleavage showing and arms and back should be covered. Make sure there are 3-4 inches from hem to knee. For men not handy with an iron, send your dress shirts to the dry cleaners for laundering and make sure your suit is pressed with sharp creases in the slacks. Shirt cuffs should extend ½ inch below the jacket sleeve.
  4. Accessorize with class. For men, stick with a nice watch (not a sports watch) in addition to a wedding ring or class ring. Belt color and shoe color should be in the same family. A necktie, when tied, should end at the bottom of your belt buckle. For women’s accessories, a simple pearl necklace and earrings are timeless and look professional. Leave the bling-y jewelry and statement necklace fora social event and avoid multiple bangle bracelets that make noise with every move and is distracting to the interviewer.  Definitely no backpacks! Both men and women may carry a classy black leather portfolio (with extra resumes inside) and be sure to carry a quality pen, not the one you got from the bank open house.
  5. Remove visible body jewelry and cover body art. You’ll live without a nose ring for a few hours. And if you have a tongue ring, the interviewer will likely not hear a word you’re saying. Even though tattoos are more mainstream, many people are still put off by them and view them as unprofessional. Cover them with clothing or special makeup designed to camouflage them.
  6. Be a personal grooming guru. Have a recent haircut and only use natural hair color dyes if your hair is colored or highlighted. Extreme hair colors such as blue and magenta are viewed as unprofessional and may lessen your chances of being hired. Most companies prefer clean-shaven men, but if you do sport a beard, make sure it’s neatly trimmed to avoid a grungy look. Men’s nails should be trimmed and clean. Women’s nail should be short, neat and polished in neutral colors.
  7. People notice your shoes. It’s sometimes the small details that show you are a person who “pays attention to details.” People notice if your shoes are scuffed or need to be re-heeled. So, get out the polish or take them to a shoe repair shop. And men, do match your sock color to your slacks color. Save the “fun” socks for a casual Friday.
  8. What to leave in your car during the interview: Mobile phone (Place it in the glove box.), water bottle and drive-through coffee cup. This prevents your phone from “accidentally” ringing during the interview, and you glancing at it (big mistake!)…or worse yet, answering it. And the water bottle and coffee cup don’t make a fashion statement.

Interested In Learning More?

What you wear once you get the job may depend on the industry, the specific job requirements and even the region of the country—but what you wear for the interview is fairly universal.  So, dust off your navy suit. These guidelines will help prevent attire mistakes that can sabotage your professional presence and help give you a leg up on the competition.

Related post you may like to read:  Casual Friday: What NOT to Wear on Casual Friday.

If you are interested in any of my business or etiquette seminars please contact me or call me at 918.970.4400!