Job interviews are a big deal. Knowing what to wear to one is an even bigger deal. Many employers create a perception about you the minute that you walk through the door, so dressing for career success is very important. While something might be fine to wear once you already have a job, it might not be the first impression statement you want to make on a potential employer.
When it comes to dressing for an interview there are many obvious and not-so-obvious clothing choices, but some statements to steer clear of might be pretty subtle. So DEW staff went to their closets to help distinguish what trends, fashion statements and outfits you should stray away from when going to a job interview.
Even if you are applying for a position within a workplace that is considered laid-back, overly casual clothes can be ill-perceived as lazy. Shorts, shirts or other pieces of clothing with name brands written across the chest, hats, etc. are all things that you should choose not to wear to your interview.
Upon first glance, this outfit might actually seem okay, and for the most part it is. She has closed-toe shoes, black slacks and a black blazer on, which are all great articles of clothing to wear to an interview. What doesn’t work for this outfit is the green t-shirt. Even by trying to dress it up, it is too casual. Instead pair the great outfit with a nice blouse.
Have you ever heard the saying, “too much of a good thing?” This outfit would be a great choice for an interview if she had chosen to wear just one strand of pearls. While layering pieces is a big trend right now, an overabundance of any kind of jewelry makes for a distracting statement. Your potential employer may be inclined to pay more attention to your accessories than what you are saying in your interview. Also be careful not to choose jewelry that is too flashy. A good rule of thumb is to choose a simple stud earring. If adding more jewelry is appropriate with the outfit you have chosen to wear, pair the simple earrings with an equally simple necklace OR bracelet, not both.
Novelty clothing is fun, and can be a way that you like to show your personality. Ties that have Fourth of July fireworks or Santa Claus, or shirts that designed with camo or have fun designs on them might be something that you refrain from wearing in an interview.
What you should choose to wear instead is a solid button-up dress shirt. Great colors to pick are white or a light blue depending on the suit color, which includes dress pants, a jacket and button-up shirt. If you do decide to go with a tie that has design on it, make sure that it is subtle like stripes or even something that looks like the tie pictured. Just remember that not every tie goes with every shirt. The color of your tie should also complement the other colors of your outfit.
Like clothing, shoes have to be carefully chosen for an interview. Great examples of a too casual shoe are tennis shoes and even Sperry’s.
For men, a nice business shoe that goes with the color of your suit is the most appropriate choice.
As a woman, refrain from wearing shoes that are more appropriate for the weekend or evening than they are for the office. You may have some interview jitters, and the last thing you should worry about is whether or not you are going to trip in shoes like the ones pictured. Some tips when choosing shoes for your interview outfit are:
- your shoes should be closed-toe.
- nude and black colored shoes are the two best colors.
- you can wear flats or heels, but if you choose heels, find a pair that is only about two inches tall.
What about pants? Trends come and go, but leggings have stuck around for a while. Some people try to make them interview appropriate by pairing them with a nice blouse or shirt, but that doesn’t mean they work. If you are going to wear pants, wear a nice pair of slacks.
For men and women alike, colored pants are something you should not choose to wear to an interview. Like many other pieces of clothing in this article, they are a bit too flashy. You should choose pants that are blue, black or grey because these colors convey confidence and are not distracting.
Women’s fashion is ever evolving because – who wants to wear dull clothing? Certainly not these ladies in the pants that DEW refers to as ‘fancy pants’. While they are a bit dressier than jeans, they aren’t dressy enough for an interview. Any kind of designed pants should be left at home on the hanger, at least while you are in your interview.
These are just a few of the more common of the items shouldn’t be worn to an interview. Some things to think about when you are trying to pick out your outfit are:
- Blues, black and greys are the best colors because they are conservative in what should be a conservative environment. The website Style Caster wrote an article about what the colors that you wear to an interview can mean to an employer. Check it out here.
- Now that you know what not to wear, you are probably wondering what you should wear. Go to The Balance where they have written Interview outfits for Women and Interview outfits for Men and offer even more advice about style tips for your next interview.
- If you have to ask yourself, “Is this appropriate?” just go ahead and change clothes so that your attention isn’t anywhere but the interview.
If you are in need of business attire there are plenty of places that you can go to find great deals. Most times you can find great business casual clothing at local consignment shops, and this includes Goodwill. If you do choose to shop with Goodwill, every purchase goes toward providing workforce programs and services to those in need. You can learn more about those programs and services here.
Ultimately our goal is to get all South Carolinians back to work, and that starts with the first impression. Make it a great one.