What to wear for an interview

What should you wear for an interview?

Interview help - what to wear for an interviewFirst impressions count, more so now than ever!

Deciding on the correct attire to wear for an interview is essential  to ensure you make that crucial first impression. So, what should you wear for an interview?  If you dress too casually, the recruiter may think you’re not interested.  Dress too formally and you might show you have no understanding of the company and their ethos.

Dressing smartly and being well-presented is definitely recommended.  One way you can decide what to wear is to park up outside the office building or the company’s place of work and watch the employees come and go, trying not to look too much like a stalker.  What are the employees wearing?  Are they all really smart or smart casual?  Are most of the men wearing shirt and tie or a more relaxed open collar? What are the women wearing, dresses or trousers and blouses or tailored power suits?

Of course, for some positions, what you need to wear for an interview is clear but for others it can be a bit of a grey area.  Some people always swear by a suit and formal shoes and I tend to be in that camp.  In the main, this is always a good option as it shows a recruiter you are taking the opportunity seriously, it is definitely better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, that’s for sure.  If you don’t own a suit, can you borrow or hire one?  Some of the bigger chain supermarkets even sell suits relatively inexpensively these days, shoes too! Ok, they aren’t Saville Row quality but they give the impression you are serious, know what to wear for an interview and are making the effort,  even if you can’t splash out on a well-made ‘off-the-peg’ suit.

How should you present yourself?

Of course, there will be lots of opinions on this but here are some hints and tips on how you should dress and what you should wear for an interview.  In the main, you are aiming to make the best first impression you can and it’s true, the interviewers first judgment will be… what you are wearing and what you look like.  So, dress to feel confident because this will have  a positive impact on how you feel.  Always give a positive, professional impression by wearing the right clothing to the interview, having a good posture and be poised to knock their socks off!

Interview Clothes for Men

  • Dark suit or trousers are recommended, preferably not plain funeral black
  • Neutral shirt
  • Suitable tie, preferably with a Windsor knot (Youtube instructions for a Windsor knot)
  • Clean, polished, smart shoes (never trainers or sandals)
  • Make sure your belt matches your shoes
  • Folio case or brief case with a copy of your CV in
  • Cover tattoos, where possible
  • Remove visible piercings
  • No ostentatious jewellery
  • Don’t over-do it on the aftershave
  • Neat, tidy and clean fingernails
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Ensure your facial hair is neat, preferably clean-shaven
  • If your clothes are too tight, too loose, too short or too low then don’t wear it

Interview Clothes for Women

  • Dark suit, trousers or skirt with a smart blouse or shirt
  • If wearing a skirt or dress, keep it knee-length and avoid showing too much leg or cleavage
  • Always wear tights, no matter how hot it is, no bare legs and check for ladders!
  • Keep your heel height sensible and professional
  • Clean, polished smart shoes – no sandals or open toes
  • If you wear a belt, it should match your shoe colour
  • Bags and shoe colour should match, if possible
  • No showy or dangly or jangly jewellery
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Smart bag or ladies professional folio case with a copy of your CV in
  • Limit the amount of make-up and scent used
  • Remove excessive piercings
  • Cover tattoos, where possible
  • Neat, tidy and clean fingernails; nails a suitable length and conservative colour
  • If your clothes are too tight, too loose, too short or too low then don’t wear it

Other Points to consider when going to an interview

Some of these are obvious to most of us but are all little mistakes that have cost people jobs so take a look…

  • Arrive 5 minutes early, never late
  • Work out how to get there beforehand, don’t rely on a sat nav
  • No chewing gum
  • Wear clean clothes, stains or marks are not acceptable
  • Don’t take a coffee or drink in to the room
  • Sit only when asked to take a seat
  • Don’t take off your suit jacket unless invited to do so
  • Keep hands out of pockets
  • No iPods
  • Turn OFF your mobile before you enter  the building, not on silent as the vibration will still be heard
  • Prepare your interview outfit the night before, try it on to make sure it fits and is clean
  • Get your suit dry cleaned in advance, if required
  • Make sure you have minty fresh breath
  • Sit up straight, unfold your arms and give lots of smiles and eye contact during the interview
  • Prepare well in advance, learn about the company and what they do
  • Prepare list of interview questions, this shows you’re interested in the position

Good luck!


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What should I wear for an interview?