How to Dress for a Job Interview

According to a study by former UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian, first impressions are formed in 7 seconds.  38% of a first impression is based on inflection and tone of voice, 7% is based on what you actually say, and 55% of a first impression comes from nonverbal cues!  Basically, more than half of every first impression is based on how you look!

Make your first impression count, and make sure you've done your research on what you should wear for your interview. If they don't specify any kind of dress code on their website or via email, it's perfectly acceptable to ask the hiring manager what the dress code is, but also don't overlook such resources as current employees, and the company's Facebook page. If you know any current or past employees or get a chance to watch them (don't be too creepy!) at their workplace, observe what they're wearing, and when you prepare your outfit for your interview be sure to wear attire that is slightly dressier than the normal work attire for the company.

Dressing for a Professional Level Interview

For professional level interviews, you should always be smart and conservative. This means wearing a smart business suit and presenting a well-groomed image to the interviewer. A shirt and tie is an absolute must for gentleman and women should wear a neat, well-pressed blouse. At this level, you can be sure your rival candidates will make every effort to present themselves as successful and professional as possible, therefore, you must scrutinize every aspect of your appearance from your head to your toes.

Dressing for a Non-Professional Level Interview

Non-professional level positions such as store, restaurant, laboring, or skilled jobs usually do not require formal business attire, so when you are interviewing for one of these positions business casual attire is often appropriate. This means wearing a smart shirt or blouse with neatly pressed trousers or skirt, and clean, well polished shoes. Even if the staff dress code for the company is very casual, you should still try to be well-groomed to present a good image to the interviewer.

Things to Avoid in Your Appearance

It goes without saying that there are some aspects to your appearance that could lead to a negative opinion in the mind of the interviewer. Try to follow a couple simple rules for interviews:

Where possible, try to cover up an visible tattoos and remove excessive jewelry.

Women should aim for a natural look when it comes to their make-up for an interview.

Do not wear cologne or perfume. If someone is allergic, you will probably not be hearing back for that job!

Do not dress provocatively unless it is part of the job description - the potential for office relationships and sexual harassment lawsuits might negatively impact your chances of getting the job.

Wear clothing that is clean and ironed, and fits properly.

Do not wear clothing that is out-of-date.

Be sure to look well-groomed. Do your hair nicely, and if you're a man, shave or trim your beard.