Original article, published in the Tampa Bay Times
It is very important to always dress appropriately for an in-person interview!
We have seen our fair share of interviews go poorly because of improper dress. You may very well be the most qualified candidate, but imagine if someone less qualified got the job because that person wore a suit and you wore jeans and a polo shirt. You just don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!
A very helpful tip is to dress a notch above what is expected for the position. Even in a business casual environment, arriving in formal business attire works to your advantage because it reflects your respect for the interviewer and company.
Make Good First Impression
What you wear is an important part of that “First impression” you make at the interview. Your dress signals the prospective employer how sincere you are about the job, your values and your attitude. Unless the prospective employer tells you otherwise, always dress in your Sunday Go to Meeting clothes. You should never have to apologize for how you are dressed. And don’t wear club or flashy clothing, your shirt either not tucked or buttoned down to you chest, accessories or flashy bling. That will send the wrong message. Below are some dress tips that will help you make that important first impression.
Suggested Interview Attire for Men:
- Dark colored two-piece (single breasted) business suit; Clean and pressed
- No lapel pins supporting controversial causes or political issues
- Solid white or light colored long-sleeve shirt; Clean and ironed; Monograms and cuff links are optional
- Simple neck-tie; No loud colors or patterns; Avoid clip-on or bow tie
- Dark colored leather shoes that match your suit; Clean and polished; Soles in good condition
- Socks that match your shirt or tie color; No holes or snags
- Belt to match color of shoes; No gaudy or large belt buckles
- Fresh haircut; Comb your hair before you enter the interview
- Fingernails clean and clipped
- No or minimal cologne; Others at the company may have allergies
- Wear a watch and simple ring; No expensive or flashy jewelry, bracelets, rubber bands or earrings
- Don’t expose tattoos; Cover with a bandage, if possible
Suggested Interview Attire for Women:
- Dark colored two-piece business suit; Clean and pressed; Don’t wear tight-fitting clothing
- Skirt suits are preferred and skirts should be no more than two inches above the knee; Avoid Koulats or form-fitting pants
- White or light colored long-sleeve blouse or sweater with a conservative neckline; Scarf is optional
- Simple closed toed shoes with low to medium heels; Avoid shoes with metal taps on heels
- Skin colored hosiery
- Minimal required make-up
- Simple earrings; No dangles
- Well groomed hair
- Nails polished and appropriate with business suit
- No or minimal perfume; Others at the Company may have allergies
- No additional rings, bracelets, necklaces, or piercing jewelry; jangling bracelets are distracting
- No exposed tattoos; Cover with a bandage if possible
- Small purse containing only basic needs
Money Saving Tip
If you find that your wardrobe closet is lacking for an appropriate outfit for the interview, try a local consignment shop or charity organization thrift store which often has clean, fashionable outfits at very reasonable prices. You may find this most important if you have a follow-up interview since you’d be best to wear a different outfit.
Oh, and one last thing… wear a smile!
People like friendly people; no one wants to work with a grouch!