How to Dress for the Interview

First impressions make a big difference when you’re interviewing for a job, and part of the impression people have of you is what you wear. When you’ve put in so much work just to land an interview, the last thing you want to do is shoot yourself in the foot with a poor outfit choice. Here are a few helpful pointers on how you can dress your best for any job interview.

Dress Appropriately for the Company Where You’re Interviewing

A common piece of advice for interviews is that you should always dress formally. If you’re a man, that means you wear a suit no matter where you’re interviewing. This advice is sorely outdated, and you run the risk of looking out of touch with a company’s culture.

Before you go in for an interview at a company, do some research on what it’s like there. Try to find pictures that show what people typically wear to work. You could also take the direct approach and just ask what the dress code is when you’re setting up the job interview.

It’s important to fit the style of the company. Wearing a suit to an interview at a laid-back tech company in Silicon Valley would look just as silly as wearing a pair of sweats and a tank top to an interview at a finance office in New York City. If you’re not sure and the dress code isn’t very specific, business casual is usually a safe choice, as it’s become a common choice across many industries.

Take a Conservative Approach

A job interview is not the time to be daring with your clothing choices. Conservative is the way to go, as you don’t want what you’re wearing to command too much attention. Anything bold is just going to take the focus off your abilities, and you may end up being known as the person who wore the red bowtie or the miniskirt.

Stick to neutral colors and traditional styles. Even if you’re interviewing somewhere with a relaxed dress code, you should still keep it simple. For example, a solid color t-shirt or polo would both be far better choices than a graphic tee.

Wear Clothes that Fit Well

Fit is a crucial part of how good your clothes look on you. Even clothes of the highest quality can’t help a poor fit. It’s what makes the difference between a young man who looks professional in a suit and one who looks like he’s wearing hand-me-downs from his father.

The best ways to get clothes that fit you perfectly are to either have pieces custom-made or take items to a tailor for alterations. While these both cost you some money, you could start by just doing this for an interview outfit. One way to build great outfits without breaking the bank is hitting thrift stores for dress clothes, and then taking what you find to your tailor. Otherwise, you’ll need to search the racks to find clothes that already fit you well. Depending on your body shape, this could be easy or next to impossible.

Get Your Outfit Ready the Day Before the Interview

The day of your big job interview is not the time to check your outfit and notice a stain on your white shirt or that those dress pants you haven’t worn in years are no longer a good fit. Keep the day of the interview as stress-free as possible by preparing what you will wear the day before.

Make sure all the clothes you plan to wear are clean and that you’ve ironed out any wrinkles. Don’t forget to pick the shoes you’re going to wear and any accessories, such as your watch or tie. When you have this all ready in advance, you won’t have any last-minute problems to deal with, and there won’t be any worry of what to wear.

You don’t need to agonize over how you dress for a job interview. Start by learning about the company and how people dress there. Once you know the level of formality, you can put together a conservative outfit with properly fitting clothes.