What’s the best outfit to wear to a job interview? Your options will vary depending on the type of job and company you’re interviewing with. You always want to dress to make the best impression, but the outfit you choose depends on whether you’re interviewing at a company with a formal dress code, a casual startup, or for an informal summer job or internship.
Here’s information on how to dress for an interview, including advice on what, and what not, to wear, how to impress a prospective employer, business vs. business casual attire, and general tips on dressing for success.
1. Professional / Business Interview Attire
The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.
Generally, you want to wear professional, or business, attire. For men, this might mean a suit jacket and slacks with a shirt and tie, or a sweater and button down. For women, this might mean a blouse and dress pants or a statement dress. You can also incorporate some modern style trends into your outfit.
2. Non-Professional / Business Casual Interview Attire
If you have a job interview in an informal work environment, you might wear a business casual outfit. Business casual outfits are less formal than a suit, but they are also more professional and polished than, say, a t-shirt and shorts or a sundress and sandals.
Of course, make sure you know the dress code before you assume that business casual is acceptable. If you aren’t sure, call the office and ask the administrative coordinator or contact the person who scheduled the interview for advice.
Always dress a bit more professional than the average employee at the company. If everyone is wearing shorts and t-shirts, for example, you might wear khakis and a polo shirt or button down.
3. Casual Interview Attire
If you have an interview at a startup company, nix the head-to-toe formal business attire. Rather than showing up in a black suit and dress shoes, opt for something that is relaxed but still presentable: relaxed-fit khakis, dark-wash jeans, and a nice top, for example.
4. Best Job Interview Hairstyles
There are lots of ways to style your hair for a job interview. While some options are funky and others are more traditional, remember that your hairstyle should not distract the employer. You will want your hair to be professional and polished, like your entire outfit.
5. How to Do Your Makeup for a Job Interview
When you do your makeup for a job interview, it’s important to make a good impression — without making too much of an impression by overdoing your makeup. Like your hair, your makeup should not distract the interviewer.
6. College Job Interview Attire
While college students might dress casually in the classroom, they should dress professionally when interviewing for a professional job or internship.
Less formal is acceptable when interviewing for campus jobs and more informal workplace jobs. However, you still want to dress professionally for most positions, even if they are entry-level. Review these tips on what to wear to an interview for college women and college men, as well as what to wear for an interview for an internship.
7. High School Interview Attire
As is the case with any interview, it’s important to look well dressed and put together even if you’re a high school student looking for a part-time job.
8. Internship Interview Attire
Internships are an important part of career development, and like any job, acing your interview is one part of getting the position you want. Making a great first impression — coming across as polished, professional and attentive — is important when it comes to your internship search.
9. Summer Job Interview Attire
Are you interviewing for a summer job? Typically, these jobs are more casual, and do not require professional attire. However, you still want to look polished and professional.
10. Warm Weather Interview Attire
Do you have an interview in the hot summer months? There are a few things you can do to look professional but feel cool in a job interview. Review tips on what to wear for a warm-weather interview, depending on the work environment and type of job.
11. Interview Accessories
When you dress for an interview, how you accessorize is important. When wearing accessories to an interview, less is more. It’s also important to choose accessories that will enhance your interview attire — not overwhelm it.
12. Wearing Pantyhose to Interviews
There is a lot of debate over whether or not women should wear pantyhose for job interviews. Here is information on when to wear pantyhose to work or to job interviews, and when it’s appropriate to skip the leg wear.