Thursday, April 21, 2011

Interview Dress Code: What's Too Much?

It's time to take another look at that job interview.  By now we've talked about how to prepare for it, nail it, and even things you shouldn't say.  Today, I want to take some time to talk about another important aspect of the interview: dress code.  By now, you should probably know the all important phrase "dress for success" but what exactly does that mean?  Obviously we know that you should not, under any circumstance, go to a job interview for a non profit job dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt, but is it possible to dress up too much?  That's a hard question to answer, really, so the best advice I can give when thinking about your interview dress code is to go very conservative.

While it sounds reasonable, it may also seem a bit strange.  After all, don't you want to stand out to the interviewer?  Well, yes, but you want to stand out with your job skills, not your fashion sense.  Remember (like it or not), a person's first impression of you is going to be the one that is most likely to last.  If you come into the interview dressed in flashy colors, it might seem like you are trying too hard to stand out which in turn could make you seem a bit desperate.  Besides, if you do get the job, chances are that is not the type of attire they will want you to wear.

So what, exactly, should you wear for your job interview?  Well, that depends on your gender.  Here's a typical dress code for men:

  • A dark colored suit
  • Long-sleeved button-down shirt
  • A belt (even if you don't think you need one)
  • Dark socks
  • Dress shoes
  • A tie is always a good bet.  You probably shouldn't wear that dinosaur tie you have, though...
  • Shave!  Even if you are planning on growing a beard, you don't want to look scruffy.
  • Stand clear of aftershave and cologne
And here's the interview dress code for women:

  • Dark colored dress-suit
  • Matching dress-skirt
  • A coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes (avoid crazy high-heels)
  • Avoid distracting jewelery
  • Light make-up
So there you have it, that is the typical dress code you should have for a job interview.  If you come in this attire for your interview, you will definitely be dressed for success.


  1. Tks very much for your post.

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