by Paige Miller
First impressions are important! First Things First: Do Your Research
Before you choose a job interview outfit, it is important to consider a few factors. What type of position are you interviewing for and in what industry? What is the company culture? What type of dress code does the company have? If you aren’t sure, do some research. Check out the “staff” section of the company’s website and even their social media networks to see if you can get a behind-the-scenes look at what staff wear at work. This information may inform how you dress for your interview.
Guidelines on What to Wear
Traditional Internship or Informational Interview
Business casual – This can be a pretty flexible term these days, but general guidelines are no jeans, t-shirts, or sneakers. A blouse or blazer and nice a skirt or pair of dress pants should work fine.
Traditional Job Interview
Don’t act too quickly to dismiss the idea of a suit. Even if the company’s dress code is business casual, there may be special events where employees wear suits. A nice-fitting suit can make you look professional and shows interviewers that you are able to dress up and represent their company well. Black suits tend to be more formal than lighter colored suits like blue or gray, so opt for a lighter color if you want to tone it down a bit. Pantyhose is not necessary if you don’t want to wear it. If you are concerned about being overdressed in a suit, consider a suit skirt or dress pants with a blouse or blazer. It’s better to be overdressed than under dressed for traditional job interviews.
Traditional Job interview over Lunch
Job interviews over lunch tend to be more casual than the traditional in-office interview. A full suit may be too formal, so consider wearing business casual attire. Tech or Startup Interview Especially for tech and startup interviews, you want to make sure that you present yourself in a way that shows you will be a good culture fit. Overdressing for tech and startup jobs might make you seem out-of-tune with the company. This probably means ditching the suit and opting for something that is more trendy and tech-appropriate.
You can never go wrong with a nice pair of flats. If you’d like to be a little more formal, you can opt for some low-to-medium height heels. Make sure that your shoes are in good condition with no scuffs. Avoid shoes with heels that are extremely high, sneakers, and shoes that are uncomfortable.
What to Avoid
A lot of makeup or jewelry, excessive perfume, sequins, sunglasses, clothes that are too tight, and a visible (or ringing!) cellphone should all be avoided.
Low-key jewelry can add a nice touch. It can also be helpful to bring along a portfolio with a few copies of your resume and cover letter, along with a pen and paper in case you need to jot down a few notes during the interview. Once you have chosen an outfit, it never hurts to ask a friend or colleague what they think. And no matter what you are wearing, it is important that you are comfortable and that your clothes fit well. Before heading out for your interview, wear your outfit around the house for a while to make sure that you can sit and stand comfortably without any wardrobe malfunctions. Good luck!