How to dress for an interview
Knowing what to wear for a job interview can help you to feel calm and confident on the big day. Here are some top tips.
It can be stressful when you’re looking for a job change. Often juggling applications alongside your current job and a social life. When you do get invited for an interview, they’re often short notice and soon come around — leaving you with little time to decide what to wear.
For professional interviews
You can’t be too formal for a professional interview; you could be in front of a board of directors, after all. You want to look your best here; your appearance certainly counts, and with the high level of competition at this stage, you don’t want to fall at any hurdles.
Women can look powerful and stylish in a suit. When it comes to dressing the bottom half, go with what you feel comfortable in. If you decide to wear a skirt, wear one with a hemline just below the knee to avoid it rising and becoming too revealing. A suit doesn’t have to be boring — shop around and find suits that are tailored in different ways — find one that suits your body shape. When it comes to footwear, heels are acceptable but make sure you can walk with confidence in them. If you don’t feel happy wearing heels, opt for pumps or shoes with a smaller heel.
When dressing for a professional interview, you can’t go wrong in a full suit. Wear dark socks to blend in with your outfit and bring a briefcase to look professional. Brogues are a good choice of footwear — they are stylish and smart without being mundane. Choose a tailored suit that you feel represents your style, a slim leg may be best suited for you and your shape.
Top tip: no matter what type of interview it is, avoid wearing too much perfume, aftershave, jewelry or makeup.
For business casual interviews
The majority of interviews are business casual. This may be because they have this dress code in the office or it may be for an assessment day where you are expected to be there all day and recruiters want you to feel comfortable. If you are unsure what to wear, it’s best to dress formally rather than too casually to avoid giving the wrong impression.
Don’t be afraid to let your fashion sense shine through in a business casual interview. You could wear pinstripe or patterned dress slacks with a smart shirt tucked in.
For something more low-key, opt for a smart shirt with a wide collar under a jumper. This look gives off a formal impression, whilst not as professional as a shirt and suit jacket.
Definitely opt for a shirt in one of these interviews. Why not opt for a non-iron shirt? It stays free of creases and there’s no need to rush around with the iron the morning before the interview! Also, if you’re traveling by car or public transport to the interview, a normal shirt can become creased and will make you look disheveled by the time you arrive.
Avoid wearing jeans or trainers as these are too informal for this type of interview.
For casual interviews
Interviews are usually casual when they’re for a volunteer position at a charity or for an unpaid work experience. For these interviews, it is likely that they won’t expect you to be dressed very formally, and will be more concerned with your personality, including your punctuality. Of course, it’s always good to make a positive first impression, so still, consider what you’re wearing.
A good way to approach an interview like this is to dress how you feel comfortable outside of work. To ensure you still look presentable, you should avoid ripped jeans and mini-skirts with bare legs. You could wear a smart dress with tights and a cardigan or a shirt-jumper combo with a smart pair of slacks or jeans.
You can expect a relaxed interview. Don’t worry too much about what’s on your feet. Opt for a smart ankle boot or flat pump, and perhaps avoid trainers and high heels.
Similarly, it’s appropriate to go casual. Jeans are definitely appropriate, but similar to our advice for women, steer clear of ripped jeans. You should avoid wearing joggers or tracksuit tops, as these will not give the best impression. A safe option would be a long-sleeved top, jeans, dress shoes such as Chelsea boots or brogues, and a smart jacket.
Author: Laura-Jane Todd is a copywriter at digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. After graduating with a degree in Marketing from Newcastle University in July 2017, Laura-Jane took on the role as copywriter in August of the same year. She uses her creative skills to write unique content for a range of clients from various industries.