The Importance of Grooming & Dressing for a Job Interview

First impressions are seldom more important than on a job interview. A sharp appearance shows that you are poised, polished and prepared. Your prospective employer should see that you take the interview seriously and that you have taken care to look your best. If you have question about what is appropriate, visit the company beforehand to pick up an application, and take note of the company culture. Being confident about your appearance can enhance your interview.

Interview Dress for Men

A solid-color suit in wool or a wool blend, either navy or dark gray, clean and pressed, is standard for a job interview. A long-sleeved white or light blue shirt and a silk tie in a solid color or small stripe looks nice. Wear leather shoes with dark, mid-calf trouser socks that won’t show skin when you sit. It's fine to wear a watch, class ring and wedding ring if desired but no other jewelry. A conservative approach is generally best in an interview, so consider removing any visible piercings and covering tattoos, depending on the position. Be sure that your hair is neatly trimmed and facial hair is well-groomed. A close-cropped cut is more becoming to balding men than a comb over. Fingernails must be clean and trimmed. Avoid strong-smelling after-shave or cologne. Carry a briefcase or portfolio. Even if the job itself would not require a suit, it's customary to dress more formally for the interview. A casual choice would be khakis and a dark blazer.

Interview Dress for Women

A two-piece suit in a dark or neutral color is suitable for a job interview. Wear a tailored blouse in a coordinating color under the suit jacket. Avoid ruffles or low cut tops. A tailored pants suit should be fitted but not super snug. Skirts that are knee-length or slightly longer are best. Plain, comfortable pumps are always a safe choice. Avoid open-toe pumps, sandals, high boots or platform shoes. Wear neutral-colored pantyhose. Large, dangling earrings and clattering bracelets should not be worn because they can be distracting. Avoid perfume and cologne; your interviewer may be allergic. Aim for a natural look instead of heavy makeup. Avoid long fingernails painted in crazy colors. Carry a small handbag or a leather briefcase.

General Guidelines

Good grooming is expected for a job interview. Shoes should be polished with no visible wear. Be sure there are no buttons missing or stains on your clothes. Don’t chew gum. You may want to pop a breath mint right before your interview. Bring along a fresh change of clothes if you are interviewing after work to avoid looking sloppy. Shorts, T-shirts and sneakers are not appropriate for most job interviews.

Interview Fashion Mistakes