With job interviews, first impressions matter. Wearing the wrong clothes can immediately disqualify you from consideration. Dress for success by avoiding these errors.
Interview Outfit Mistakes
Dress codes vary from formal to business casual to start up casual. However, when choosing an outfit, remember this is an interview – not a day at the beach. You need to look professional even in a relaxed workplace. Never wear flip-flops, sneakers or shorts. Also avoid visible underwear, skin-tight fits, tank tops and t-shirts, low-cut or short blouses, short skirts and low-rise pants. If you are not sure about appropriate attire, check out the company’s website to see how current employees dress. Or, ask the receptionist, your interview contact or someone else you know at the company about a dress code. When in doubt, err on the side of too formal rather than too casual.
If you are trying to save money, you might think about pulling out an interview outfit from 2002. Unfortunately, this will make you look as though you have been out of the workforce for some time. Stay modern and fashion-forward, but not overly trendy. Trendy is difficult to maintain, and your choices might not match your interviewer’s ideas of high fashion. Stick to classic, crisp, clean and recently updated pieces. If picking out clothing isn’t your strength, ask a sales clerk at your local retail store for advice. Let them know your budget, so you don’t overspend. The employees at most stores will be happy to help.
Although you may have a flamboyant sense of style and a personality to match, showy outfits can be very distracting. You want interviewers to focus on your qualifications, not the unusual fabric of your shirt. Stay away from wild animal prints, overly vivid colors and novelty ties. Also, keep jewelry and earrings to a minimum. Dressing conservatively may not be as fun, but this is a best practice for both interviews and good first impressions.
And … Don’t Forget About Personal Hygiene
Even the perfect interview outfit will go to waste without appropriate personal grooming. You want to look clean, refreshed and awake. Use this checklist as a guide.
- shower and use deodorant;
- brush your teeth;
- clean your fingernails;
- have your hair styled and trimmed; and
- Don’t wear perfume, aftershave or cologne.
- Shave or trim your facial hair; and
- Pay attention to your belt, tie clip and/or cufflinks.
- Avoid excessive makeup including heavy foundation, dark eyeshadow and bright lipstick; and
- Remove flashy nail polish and/or go for a traditional manicure.