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Job Interview Attire

Your job interview attire says a lot about you. You won't get a second chance to make a powerful first impression.

True Story: I was traveling home from a business trip on a Saturday. Normally I wear casual attire for a flight home. On this day, I didn't have time to change after my meeting. So, I wore my suit and tie and carried my briefcase with me.

When I arrived at the gate I noticed lots of families with children and other passengers who wore casual attire...obviously on vacation. As my seating section was called, I took my place in line as it slowly made its way to the entrance of the aircraft.

When I handed my ticket to the gate agent, she smiled and warmly said, Sir, would you like to fly first class with us today? It took me all of 2 seconds to reply--Sure!

Do you think she would have asked me to take a seat in first class if I had strolled up to the gate wearing blue jeans and a Budweiser t-shirt?

Special Tip: You are always better off being over-dressed rather than under-dressed for your job interview. So when in doubt, dress a level up from what you would normally wear. This also applies to factory job interviews.

Interview Attire Dos and Don'ts

Job Interview Attire for Men

I recommend you wear a dark suit, white shirt, and conservative tie. Notice I said suit—not a sports coat, or just a shirt and tie. Dark suit means navy blue, black, or gray.

Avoid tying your tie too short or too long. The tip of your tie should end at the middle of your belt buckle.

Do not wear ties with cartoon characters, religious icons, wild patterns, or bright colors. This is not the time to be making a fashion statement. Be conservative.

Make sure your shoes are polished and the heels are not all worn down.

You don't need to wear a suit and tie if you are applying for an hourly factory job or other blue collar type positions. However, your job interview attire should be a step up from what you would normally wear on the job.

Again, the idea is for you to stand out from other candidates.


Interview Attire to Avoid:

  • Dark shirts
  • Brown or khaki suits
  • Flashy jewelry
  • Socks that don't match the color of your pants

Beards, mustaches, long side burns, weird haircuts, and tattoos could eliminate you as a serious candidate depending on the level of the position you are interviewing for.

I once knew a general manager who would not hire someone with a beard.

Some folks may be put off by this job interview advice. You certainly are free to do whatever you want; however, it could cost you your dream job.

Besides, it’s a whole different ball game once you’re on board and you are being measured more by your performance than your appearance.

You can always grow your goatee back.

Again, it’s your choice, but just know that even in these enlightened times...it’s risky.

By the way, it’s not against any discrimination laws to not hire someone because of their appearance.

Job Interview Attire for Women

I recommend conservative, modest, interview attire. Consider wearing a dark suit that includes a conservative length skirt. Dark suit means navy blue, black, or gray.

It’s true that dress slacks are very acceptable these days in the workplace; however, most fashion experts will tell you that a skirt just looks more professional.

You should also wear a dress shoe with a conservative heel. Avoid flashy jewelry, too much make-up, or perfume.

Interview Attire to Avoid:

  • Low-cut blouses
  • Sleeveless blouses
  • Tight clothing
  • Short skirts
  • High heels
  • Extreme hairstyles

Special Tip: Most companies have a business-casual work environment. You may be tempted to go to your interview dressed the same way. Maybe you’re thinking it will make you look like you fit in more. Don’t do it.

Do I need to say it again...the whole idea of your job interview attire is to stand out from among your competition. You probably aren’t the only one being interviewed for this position.

Do you want to look like everyone else? Do you get excited about average?

Good companies want to hire the best. Give them good reason to hire you.



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