How to Dress for a Job Interview


When you consider that employers form an impression of you within seconds, it is clear that your appearance counts.  That means that it is important to carefully consider what you wear to your interview.  When you have a professional appearance, the employer will be less focused on what you are wearing and more focused on what you are saying.

Choose clothes that are appropriate for the workplace.  The clothing that you choose to wear at your interview can reveal whether or not you would be a good fit for the organizational culture.  If it is a company that is very focused on image and appearance, you may want to include some high fashion into your wardrobe.  However, if the company is more conservative, your clothing should reflect that.  Regardless of what you wear, it is essential that you look professional.

Don’t try to stand out too much.  You do not want to stand out at an interview because of your appearance.  You want the employer to recognize that you are dressed professionally and be impressed by your skills and fit for the job.  If you wear loud colours, too much jewellery, or have wacky hair, they will be so distracted by how you look that they won’t even be thinking about the position.

Be clean and well-groomed.  If you do nothing else when getting ready for an interview, have a shower, brush your teeth, and wear deodorant.  Almost all employers will be turned off by a candidate who appears to be unclean.

Be mindful of what you are carrying.  Some candidates spend a lot of time picking out their outfit and then show up to an interview with their papers in a plastic bag.  Keep in mind that the employer will be looking at the whole picture, which includes whatever is in your hands.  Put your resumes, notes, and networking cards into a professional briefcase and make sure that it’s neat.  You don’t want to be telling an employer how organized you are only to open your briefcase and have paper spill everywhere.

While it is true that the employer will make a hiring decision based on your skills and experience, you cannot afford to ignore how you look.  Yes, hiring managers are seeking a candidate who is the right fit for the job, but don’t forget that they are also looking for someone who will represent their company well.

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of foto76 at


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