Becoming a Better Job Candidate, Part 2 of 12: Dressing for Your Interview

A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience! You’re meeting new people, trying to remember names, and make an overall good first impression. The better prepared you are, the smoother it will go. Though you can’t control everything about the day, you can at least rehearse your answers, research the company, and select the most appropriate outfit. Here’s how you should dress for your next job interview.


Do some preliminary research


Before you start trying to figure out which belt goes with which shoes, learn about the company culture. Do most people there wear a t-shirt and jeans is everyone donning a suit? Though you probably want to overdress slightly as opposed to being underdressed, you want to match the culture as best you can. You want them to believe that you’re a qualified candidate who’s also a good fit for the company.


Dress for comfort


You’ll feel more confident if you can match the dress code of the company or you’re slightly dressier. And you’ll also feel confident if you’re not distracted by uncomfortable heels. Or the tight waistline of your pencil skirt. In fact, since we’re talking skirts, if you opt to wear one, make sure that it’s long enough to cover your knees when you’re seated. Though you’ll most likely be across from your interviewer at a table or desk, there’s a chance you might be on couches—you don’t want to reveal too much! If you’re dressed for comfort, you can focus all your attention on answering the interview questions thoughtfully and thoroughly.


Present a neat appearance


Make sure your clothes are clean and ironed. Spills and stains might reveal that you’re sloppy and your future employer would hate for that carelessness to transfer over you to your work. Wear clothes that fit—if you opt to wear a suit, invest a little extra money to have it tailored. Well-fitting clothes do a lot for your overall appearance.


Good grooming and hygiene are also important. A fresh haircut, trimmed fingernails, fresh breath, deodorant, and a recent shower will go a long way in making you a more desirable candidate. Easy on the perfume and aftershave—some people have sensitive noses and you don’t want to overpower their senses!


Avoid distractions


Of course you want to show off your personality, but avoid loud, bright patterns and flashy fabrics that might be too distracting to your interviewer. A little color makes you look confident, too much confuses people. And choose your accessories wisely—no jewelry that’s too flashy or noisy as you shake hands or move down the hall. If you bring a bag or satchel, choose something professional like a briefcase or portfolio.

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