Your appearance and how you dress will speak volumes to an interviewer. It doesn’t just contribute to your first impression – it is your first impression. When you walk into that office, do you know what kind of message you are sending?
What you wear to an interview has to portray professionalism, but it should also be a reflection of who you really are. You need to feel comfortable and relaxed, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to go totally causal. You should always – always – wear your best to an interview. Of course, this is an open definition that could include countless possibilities, depending on your own style and taste, so it may be more beneficial to focus on a list of things you should never, ever, wear when you’re seeking a new job.
- Flip flops – Seriously, get some shoes.
- Running shoes – And they should be shoes you’d never wear to the gym.
- Shorts – Hopefully this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
- Skirts that are too short – Remember professionalism above trendy styles.
- T-shirts – Not even under a sports coat.
- Jeans – It doesn’t matter how much you convince yourself it’s a really “nice pair of jeans,” don’t do it.
- Shirts/pants/skirts that are too tight – How long can you sit comfortably in those pants?
- Tops that are cut too low or too high – You’re there to show off your skills, not your neckline or midriff.
- Socks that are too short– There’s no reason to show off the skin above your ankles either.
- Things that make underwear visible – Really? This needed to be said?
- Excessive perfume or cologne – They may smell nice in the great wide open, but too much in a cramped office can get awkward (and hard to breath) really fast.
- Bright and flashy colors – Whether it’s your socks, tie, blouse, or shoes, avoid colors that are distracting and “full of character.”
- Novelty ties/socks – Speaking of character, keep if off your ties and socks, too. Classy and professional is always the way to go.
- Excessive makeup – Things that have a heavy contrast (dark eye shadow, bright lipstick, etc.) should be avoided.
- Dirty or rumpled clothes – If you didn’t have time to wash and iron your clothes before an interview, you’ve already done something wrong. You should have plenty of time to get prepared. Use it.
Always take the time to plan out exactly what you will wear to the interview. If anything fits into these categories, discard them and try something different. Make sure everything is clean and professional and set it all out the night before. This is your first impression – make sure you do it right. Make sure you don’t forget your resume either!