DRESS FOR SUCCESS

Good first impressions are vital. In an interview, the goal is to sell yourself. You want to leave the room trusting that you’ve made a credible argument on who you are and why you deserve the job. It’s important to remember that it’s not just what you say that influences the impression you convey; among many other things, it’s also about how you dress. Dressing for an interview is a crucial step in the interview process. So, how do you do it? View helpful tips below and also check out this info graphic that compares business professional to business casual. 

GENERAL TIPS

  • Formal from head to toe. It’s typically understood that an interview should be business formal attire (ie. a full suit). The goal is not to match what you have heard is the company’s day-to-day dress code. Unless specified otherwise, it is best to be overdressed than underdressed.  
  • Lose the wrinkles. Iron your clothes, a wrinkled shirt can easily convey the impression you are careless or sloppy.
  • Stay simple. You had your chance to rock a camo tux at prom, stick to neutral-colored suits for your interview.
  • Make sure it fits. People rarely hit overnight growth spurts in college. A recruiter may have a hard time seeing past your suit with quarter length sleeves or flood-style pants.
  • Match! Make sure your colors complement each other and avoid anything outlandish (eg. orange shoes, LED belt buckle, fedora).

WOMEN

  • Simple blouse. Keep the pattern discrete, the frills minimal, and the neckline tame. Essentially, if your top does not draw attention to itself, you’re good to go.
  • Skirt optional. You’re free to wear a pantsuit or a suit with a skirt. Neither is better than the other - it’s about what you’re more comfortable in. However, if you do decide on a skirt, make sure it fits appropriately. Small slit, no more than 1-2 inches above the knee, and not tighter than it needs to be. Also, if you opt for a skirt, wear panty hose.
  • Be comfortable in your shoes. Don’t wear anything you are unable to comfortably walk in. You stumbling or falling is much more memorable than how cute your shoes were. Flats or simple heels that match your suit are your best bet.
  • Let your hair be. There’s not a set answer on whether or not to put your hair up. You know your hair best, and if you’re uncomfortable with it a certain way, you’re going to feel and act uncomfortable. However, whatever the case, make sure your hair is in a position where you will not play with it. Make sure it is clean, brushed, and away from your face and hands.
  • Minimize how much you accessorize. Go ahead and add some personal flair, but keep it simple. If interviewers have to wonder why you’re jingling, why a flower is growing out of your head, or whether or not your ring will stab them when you shake hands, you are focusing their attention on the wrong things.

MEN

  • Button up. Wear a solid-colored shirt that allows you to fasten every button. Make sure the shirt is neither too baggy or too tight. The sleeve length should stick out about ½ inch with your suit jacket on. An undershirt is suggested to allow the shirt to fit most appropriately.
  • Wear a tie. A tie completes the suit. If your suit and shirt are solid, a patterned tie is appropriate. If your suit is striped, avoid a tie with stripes.
  • No white socks! The only people who can get away with white socks and dress pants are Pee Wee Herman and Urkel. There’s not room for a third person on that list. Wear dark socks that match your suit. If you prefer patterned socks, it is suggested you match them to your tie.
  • Dark shoes. Wear nice dress shoes that are black, brown or burgundy. If they are scuffed, polish them.
  • Go baby face. No one wants to hear it, but the beard should go. A clean-shaven face makes you look much more well-kept and groomed.
  • Belt it. Wear a belt that matches your shoes. If you have a preference for suspenders, get buttons sewn into your pants so you don’t have inexpensive clips showing.