What Not To Wear To An Interview If You Want The Job

March 26, 2014


If you want to get a great job, you already know that you must have the best resume. But when it comes to the big day, you might think you can get away with only your wits, your skills and a smile.

The fact is, the way you present yourself makes a big difference in the way your interviewer sees you. So put your best-dressed foot forward, and avoid these common interview day mistakes.

Dressed for distraction

Remember when people used to suggest that you print your resume on bright cardstock to attract attention? That is so 1990s, and the same principle applies here. At this point in the hiring process, wearing distracting clothing is only going to end badly for you.

So you may have that fabulous red dress or an awesome 1940s style zoot suit, but today’s the day to leave that at home. When you want a job, the message you want to send is that your style is simple, yet elegant. Select tailored styles that suit your figure, but will not draw too much attention.

This goes double for the fit. Avoid ill-fitting clothes like the plague. Even if your interview is in the middle of blazing hot summer, do not fall victim to the temptation for short sleeved shirts (for men), short skirts, no tights and open-toed sandals for women. Never, ever wear shorts.

No funerals, please

Unless you are totally broke, you may want to buy something new for this interview season. What you used to wear several years ago may not fit as well or could be obviously out of style.

Take a moment to consider what colors look best on you. Despite your desire to reflect an image of power, black is rarely a good idea.

Where any dark suit conveys seriousness, black is the most severe. Unless you are applying to work at a mortuary, choose a simple, solid color that complements your complexion.

Overdressed and stressed

Just like you had to tailor your application to the company, you have to alter your dressing standards for the job. It is so important that you understand the environment of the company as well as the type of position you want to fill. You will dress more casually for a small start-up than you might for a large corporation.

And you would definitely need to select something more expensive and elegant for senior positions than if you applied to be an entry level secretary. The key is to dress one level up than what you would expect to wear to work in that position.

Overdressing is almost as bad as under dressing, so keep it simple. Do not wear a suit when a nice button-down shirt and tailored trousers will do. And a pantsuit may send a better message than a stylish dress. Just make sure that whatever you wear is good quality.

Interview day is stressful enough, without having to worry about what you should wear. If you remember that you want to impress your interviewer with your class, you will dress well to fit the job you want.

That way, what you wore will only be the first thing the interviewer sees, not what they remember about you. After the interview, your experience, knowledge, skills and personality should be the only thing that remains.