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Interview Preparation

What to Wear to a Job Interview: Tips and Ideas

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

Why it's important to dress appropriately for a job interviewHow to decide what you should wear to a job interviewExamples of what to wear to a job interview

Guide Overview

Understanding what to wear to a job interview

What you wear to a job interview is an important component of showing up feeling confident and making a good first impression. The right outfit displays professionalism to the hiring manager and can set you apart from the competition. There are several factors to consider when choosing what to wear to an interview, including the company's dress code policy and the position you're applying for. Here we explore the importance of wearing appropriate attire to job interviews, steps to take when deciding what you should wear, and examples of interview outfits to motivate you when selecting your own.

Why it's important to dress appropriately for a job interview

Dressing appropriately for a job interview is important for several reasons, including that it:

  • Encourages you to be more confident in yourself during the interview.
  • Shows the employer you have a good sense of judgment and can successfully read a situation.
  • Displays your commitment to professionalism.
  • Sets you apart from other candidates interviewing for the position.
  • Demonstrates respect for the business you’re interviewing with.
  • Makes a good first impression on the hiring manager.

How to decide what you should wear to a job interview

The following are steps you can follow when deciding what to wear to your next job interview:

1. Do your homework

Some hiring managers will let you know ahead of time what they expect in terms of dress code for the interview. If you aren’t able to find this information or aren’t provided with it, you should actively seek out the company’s dress code policy so you can dress accordingly. A great way to determine the dress code of an organization is to call the front desk or human resources department. You can ask for a copy of the employee handbook or simply inquire about how the organization expects its employees to dress in the office.

If you aren’t able to get the information you need by calling the company’s front desk, you can also try reaching out to the recruiter or hiring manager a few days before the interview. Ask what type of dress code policy they have or what they expect interviewees to wear. Knowing is always better than guessing, so don’t be afraid to ask if you’re unsure of what you should wear to your upcoming interview.

Learn more: What To Wear To An Interview

2. Select and prepare your outfits ahead of time

Rather than choosing what you’re going to wear to the day of the interview — or worse, a few minutes before you walk out the door — take some time to select an outfit the night before the interview. Neatly lay out each piece of clothing and ensure it’s clean and pressed. Choose the socks and accessories you’ll wear as well. You can even pick out two outfits in the event that you change your mind on the day of the interview or the weather changes and you need to wear something warmer or cooler.

Preparing your outfit ahead of time is beneficial not only because it ensures you’re ready to go on interview day but because it also takes away some of the stress associated with the interview process and helps you feel better prepared and confident. Without having to worry about what to wear, you can spend your time practicing interview questions and researching the organization.

3. Wear what you feel comfortable in

Another important aspect of choosing what to wear to an interview is ensuring you feel comfortable in what you decide on. If you feel stuffy and uncomfortable in a suit, try wearing a nice button-up shirt, tie, and slacks. Wearing something you don’t feel good in will often have you adjusting your clothing or fidgeting during the interview, which prevents you from being fully present and confident. A good rule of thumb is to wear clothing you’ve worn before and that you know fits you well. You should also take the time to break in new shoes if you plan to wear them to the interview and wash and iron any new clothing.

4. Choose up-to-date attire

It’s also important that you wear clothing that is up-to-date with today’s professional fashion attire. For example, a pinstripe suit may have been acceptable and even considered in-fashion several years ago, but in today’s work industry, this outfit could be seen as outlandish and out-of-style. While you certainly don’t have to go out and buy the latest fashion trends from the runway, it’s important to wear clothing that matches the industry you’re applying for a job in and the current professional attire standards that most offices adhere to.

5. Keep your accessories simple

Another good rule-of-thumb when choosing what to wear to an interview is to keep your accessories simple. Avoid large or distracting jewelry and pick just one bag to carry with you to the interview. Ensure your nails and hair are trimmed and neat and remove any facial or body piercings that are visible. Cover any tattoos if possible, especially if the company has a no-tattoo policy.

Men should wear little to no jewelry; a wedding ring and a simple watch are acceptable. Women should stick with simple jewelry such as stud earrings, one or two bracelets, and a small necklace.

Examples of what to wear to a job interview

Here are a few examples of acceptable outfits you can wear to a job interview:

  • A traditional suit in a solid color paired with neutral shoes and a solid or simple-patterned button-up shirt.
  • A blazer, blouse, and slacks with neutral heels.
  • A button-up long-sleeve shirt, sports coat, and slacks with dark dress shoes.
  • A blouse with a pencil skirt that reaches below the knee and neutral-colored pumps.
  • Dress pants with a professional top, knit sweater, and professional flats.
  • Chinos with a long-sleeved collared shirt and dark leather shoes.
  • A classic black dress with black tights and black pumps.
  • A professional statement dress.

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