Personal Technology – How to Dress for an Interview – Guidelines and Suggestions

If you Google “how to dress for an interview,” you will get 253,000,000 results.  That is how many articles there are on the internet telling you how you should and should not dress yourself to meet potential employers – and this is not counting the innumerable books, magazine articles, and  TV programs that will give you the same advice.

However, if you have gone to a job interview lately, interviewed someone yourself, or even worked at a company that is currently hiring, you probably know that many people treat these rules more as “guidelines” or “suggestions.”  So even though there are literally uncountable millions of articles with this same advice, I am going to tell you again, just in case you missed out or forgot.

Dress to Impress

It doesn’t matter if you know for a fact that everyone at the company wears jeans and a T-shirt to work, DRESS UP for your interview.  You want to project to your potential employer that you are serious about your work, serious about the company, and serious about the interview.  This almost always will translate to: a conservative suit for men and women, with a button up shirt and a tie (women may skip the tie).  Closed toed shoes are 100% required, even if you are interviewing for a position making mai tais for a beach resort.

The Job You Want

Perhaps you have heard the rule “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”  This is especially important for job interviews.  First – if you are interviewing at this company, you had certainly better want this job.  Job interviews can be a huge hassle to schedule, so think of this time as a favor to you granted by upper management.  Interviews are also expensive in terms of time and money – this time could be spent earning money! – And the process of training a new employee, hopefully you, is expensive and time consuming as well.  So when you are preparing for a job interview, keep these things in mind.  Use your appearance to back up your words – both should be saying, “I would love this job, do my best at it every day, and behave as a professional at all times.”

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Young people new to the job market often have one complaint: you can’t get hired until you have experience, but you can’t get experience without getting hired.  This complaint is often followed up with, “If I could just show them what I could do…”.  Think of the suit and tie as one way you can demonstrate your skills.  You may not be asked to perform specific tasks during your interview, but the fact that you took the time and care to dress nicely, choose clean clothes, and perfect your appearance is a way of saying “look what I can do!  I can be professional!”  Remember the old saying: your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.  Your untidy appearance might be saying more about your capabilities than you could ever undo with quick answers to interview questions.

All Dressed Up

The most common reason that people choose not to dress up for interviews is not that they don’t want the job, or that they don’t think their appearance affects their job performance, or that they purposely want to offend job recruiters.  Usually the excuse is, “If I am the most dressed up person in the room, it will make me look stupid and I still won’t be hired.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In the first place, the expectation for candidates to dress up for interviews is so wide-spread that not dressing up is almost a slap in the face – whether a job recruiter will admit it or not, it is still a silent mark in the “no” column.  Secondly, people will often respond favorably to a person they perceive as having power – and some of the hallmarks of power (especially in an office setting) are a nice suit, a strong handshake, and an attitude of confidence.  This leads to my third point – dressing up will often give you a boost of confidence.  If you look good and know you look good, you can walk into a room feeling like a million dollars, and that kind of confidence shows.  Confident employees get hired.

dressforinterview Personal Technology   How to Dress for an Interview   Guidelines and Suggestions

Image Coursey: telegraph

Clothing Breakdown

So, if these rules have convinced you of the importance of dressing professionally for an interview, but you are still at a loss as to what exactly that means, here is a quick list of what should be in your closet and ready to wear on interview days.


  • Solid color suit.  No stripes, checks, or polka dots, and preferably in a “conservative” color like navy blue, black, or dark gray.  Light gray, light blue, white or tan should  be off the list.
  • A long-sleeved, button-up shirt that coordinates with your suit
  • A tie that coordinates with your suit
  • Dark socks, dark shoes
  • Belt
  • Trimmed hair, and no facial hair are often preferred, but neatly trimmed facial hair at the very least
  • Trimmed nails (you will be shaking a lot of hands!)
  • NO: strong aftershave, tattoos, jewelry, gum, cell phones, cursing


  • Solid color suit.  No stripes, checks, or polka dots, and preferably in a “conservative” color like navy blue, black, or dark gray.  Light gray, light blue, white or tan should  be off the list.
  • Suit pants are becoming more accepted on women, but if you choose to wear a suit with a skirt, make sure it is long enough to sit and move comfortably – a good rule is fingertip length or longer, preferably at the knee.
  • A coordinated button-up shirt (long-sleeves are not a rule for women)
  • Minimal make-up and jewelry – less is always better than too much
  • Pantyhose and closed-toe shoes
  • Neat hair style
  • Trimmed nails (you will be shaking a lot of hands!)
  • NO: strong perfume, tattoos, gum, cell phones, cursing

Reference: Pinal Dave (

One thought on “Personal Technology – How to Dress for an Interview – Guidelines and Suggestions

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