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How to Dress for a Job Interview

Tips on what to wear for a job interview and
inappropriate attire to avoid

It is extremely important that candidates understand how to dress for a job interview. First impressions are very important and nowhere is this fact more applicable than in a job interview. Rightly or wrongly, most people tend to judge others by their appearance and dress. Research shows that over 50% of people base their opinion of others by their dress. It is therefore imperative that you know how to dress for an interview in order to build a positive and professional impression in the minds of interviewers.

Organizations have differing cultural philosophies and some are more conservative than others. For an established law firm, conservative dress would be expected. On the other hand, a web design firm ran by young under-thirties will probably have less restrictive code for job interview attire. However, it is better to dress smartly and appear at your best irrespective of the dress code of the organisation.

What to do if you are unsure what to wear to a job interview

If you are unsure how to dress for an interview, it is better you dress conservatively and smartly. It is far better that you attend your interview overdressed rather than the opposite scenario where a candidate appears underdressed. Conservative attire is always a safe and appropriate way to dress for a job interview. You are therefore strongly advised to dress smartly and conservatively in all your interviews, unless specifically told otherwise by the prospective employer.

You do not need to spend unduly to dress professionally

Most people already have one or two professional attire sufficient for an interview. Typically therefore, you may not need to go on a spending spree. Check the list below of recommended men's and women's items of dress. You should have two or three professional sets of dress for interviews. You should also wear a different set for second and third interviews. Be mindful of the fact that interviewers are trained to notice these things as part of their assessment of candidates during the selection process.

Colour matching items of dress

Even though you might have already decided what to wear for your interview, it is important that you understand how to colour match items of clothing such as ties with shirts and blouses with skirts etc. If you are not sure how to colour match items of dress, ask friends, colleagues and family members. Most high street retail stores can assist in colour matching items of dress.

Appropriate Women's Interview Attire

  • Adopt moderate colours
  • Conservative skirt and blouse suit
  • Conservative shoes
  • Well coordinated blouse
  • Moderate jewelry
  • A neat hair style
  • Light coloured hosiery
  • Moderate make-up
  • Moderate perfume
  • Ensure you have neatly manicured nails
  • Professional briefcase or neat portfolio

Appropriate Men's Interview Attire

  • Adopt moderate colours
  • Adopt moderate colours: navy or dark grey
  • Conservative dark suit
  • White or light blue long sleeve shirt
  • Good colour-matched conservative tie
  • Black or dark blue socks
  • Black professional shoes
  • Moderate jewelry
  • Well cropped neat hairstyle
  • Moderate aftershave
  • Well trimmed and clean nails
  • Professional briefcase or neat portfolio

Inappropriate attire for men in an interview

  • Adopt moderate colours
  • Shirts with bright colours
  • shorts
  • Jeans
  • Tee-shirts
  • Trainers

Inappropriate interview attire for women

  • Low skirts
  • Excessively high heeled shows
  • Low-cut blouses
  • Visible under-garments

We hope these tips will enhance your knowledge on how to dress for a job interview for optimum effectiveness. Remember it is not just knowing what to wear to your interview, you need to colour match your attire.

How to Dress for a Job Interview