What you wear to a job interview can make a lasting first impression before you even sit down and begin talking through your resume. Whether conscious or not, the hiring manager or recruiter will be making an initial assessment of you just by appearance alone.
Typically, a job interview will require you to wear professional clothing or business attire. But this will depend on the specific industry and role that you are interviewing for – banking and HR professionals will often require a more corporate dress versus graphic designers and IT staff in a startup, for example. That’s why it’s so important to spend time planning your interview attire and choose an outfit that’s appropriate.
Get started with our helpful tips and considerations for what to wear to a job interview below.
Let the company attire guide you
Look at the company you’re interviewing with: do employees typically wear formal business clothing? Smart casual attire? Jeans and a t-shirt? This is a good starting point for figuring out how dressed up (or down) you should be for the job interview.
With that said, always err on the conservative side when it comes to interview attire. For example, if you’re interviewing for a fintech start-up and you know their typical ‘uniform’ is blue jeans and a polo, the hiring manager may still expect you to wear something more polished.
In cases like this, a slightly more formal interview outfit like a collared shirt and dress pants, or a blouse and skirt, is usually the best way to go.
Even if a company is very lax about its clothing policy, avoid ripped jeans, shirts with holes, shorts, t-shirts, running shoes or joggers.
Make sure you’re well-groomed
It’s not just what you wear for an interview, but also your grooming and overall presentation that play a part in landing the job. Do you appear scruffy? Didn’t bother to comb or brush your hair? That gives off the impression you have made zero effort for the job interview.
Give yourself extra time beforehand to ensure you’re well presented: take a shower, brush your hair and teeth, and if it’s a face-to-face interview put on deodorant (interview nerves can make you extra sweaty) and make sure your personal hygiene is at its best.
Still not sure what to wear to the interview? Don’t be afraid to ask
If you landed the job interview through a recruiter, you should absolutely ask them about appropriate interview attire. They will have a relationship with the hiring manager and company and will be happy to offer general guidance about what to wear.
And if you were offered the job interview directly, don’t be embarrassed to ask the hiring manager or point of contact about the company’s standard interview dress code. Doing so will demonstrate a level of care and willingness to impress. After all, it’s better to ask and get your interview outfit right rather than turn up on the day wearing something completely unsuitable.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect interview outfit, make sure it’s clean, ironed and ready to go before the day.
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