Interview Attire: Dress for the Job You Want

In the workplace, you’ll often hear this advice: “dress for the job you want.” The same holds true during interviews, Meetups and career fairs, where your number-one goal should be to present yourself professionally, from the clothes you wear to how you prep for an interviewer’s questions.

A Quick Guide to Professional Dress

First impressions count. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the proverbial wheel when it comes to your interview style. While there may be some leeway in creative fields, the standards for interview attire are already well-established. Read on for tips and dress for professional success.

  • Err conservative. Even if you’re seeking to work in a creative field, it’s wise to dial it down for the interview – it shows that you take the opportunity seriously, and helps you avoid a faux pas.
  • Be neutral. The interview is not the time to show off your mastery of the latest color trends. Keep it low. Colors such as black, navy, grey, beige, or white will do the trick. 
  • Make it a match. It’s said that the shoes make the outfit for a reason. Be sure to match your footwear – and for women, keep to a conservative heel.
  • Dust off your iron. Your clothes should be clean and pressed, every time.
  • Be polished. Scuffed shoes, small stains on clothing, and other minor gaffes will stand out. 
  • Watch hemlines/cuts.
    • Shirt sleeves should extend about a half inch beyond your jacket, and your tie should go to your belt.
    • Avoid low-cut blouses, and if you wear a skirt or dress, don’t take it more than an inch or two above the knee.

Go beyond the outfit.

In addition to choosing your outfit carefully, pay attention to your grooming choices, from trimming your hair (or beard, for the guys) to avoiding heavy fragrances or excess make-up. This may mean taking some extra time getting ready, and it’s 100% worth it. Personal style is about how you present yourself. Make eye contact. Offer a firm handshake. When you’re confident in yourself, others will follow suit.