How To Dress For A Job Interview (10 Things To Avoid)

How to dress for a job interview

Congratulations! You’ve obviously written a good resume / CV, and perhaps done well in an initial telephone interview.

And now you have a big face-to-face interview coming up for your dream job.

Whatever you do, don’t blow it through any of these easy-to-avoid mistakes when thinking about how to dress for a job interview…

1. Don’t wear badly fitting clothing

Remember when you were a kid and sometimes your parents made you wear clothes that were too big for you, because “you will grow into them”?

Or sometimes they were too small, because you’d grown out of them. Well, that’s ok for kids. But it’s not ok for grown-ups in a job interview.

DO make sure that all your clothes fit as they should do – your jacket sits on your shoulders, your trousers reach your shoes, and your blouse is not popping open.

After all, if you look smart you often feel smart, and that’s a good thing going into an interview.

2. Don’t wear a crazy tie

Remember that reindeer tie you got from your uncle at Christmas?

Guess what…

No-one thinks it looks good. At any time. Ever.

Least of all in an interview for a new job when you’re trying to demonstrate that you’re a professional who is worth hiring.

Similarly, that bright pink tie you insist on wearing because you think it ‘demonstrates personality’ also won’t go down well in a job interview.

Instead, DO stick to a plain tie or one with a simple pattern (subtle stripes), and un-offensive, neutral colours.

3. Don’t wear skyscraper heels

You know the type of heels that you see some women wear that they can barely walk in?

Well they’re not good for an interview. Remember, you’re interviewing for a job, not walking down the catwalk.

DO stick to a pair of reasonably sized heels that are comfortable to wear and easy to walk in.

Black or darker shades of colour suit the office environment more than that bright red pair you save for Saturday nights.

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 4. Don’t wear dirty clothes

This should really go without saying, but make sure your clothes are clean.

There really is no excuse for turning up with clothes that either smell or have stains on, or both.

Of course, it is possible that you might drop toothpaste on your blouse, or spill coffee on your tie. But because you are well organised and have planned time in your schedule for unforeseen circumstances before your interview then you will have enough time to change, right?

Cigarette smoke can be a big turn-off, so avoid having a final cigarette before entering the interview and bringing the smell of smoke with you.

Find some other way to calm your nerves.

DO make sure that all your clothes are clean, washed and stain-free.

5. Don’t sport a crazy hairstyle

Equally applicable for men and women, is the need to avoid the hairstyle that looks like it’s come straight from a TV advert for the latest hair product on the market.

You’re attending a job interview, and you want the interviewer to remember you for your skills that are directly relevant for the job – not for the ‘There’s Something About Mary’ style quiff that you spent 30 minutes getting to hold this morning.

DO keep your hairstyle simple, yet smart. Ideally you would have a trim in the week before your interview so that you’re looking especially smart.

Note: There are exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re going for a job in the hair or modelling industries, a crazy hairstyle may actually help your cause.

6. Don’t under-dress

So if you can choose between under-dressed or over-dressed for a job interview, definitely go for the latter.

If you misjudge the environment of your potential new work place and turn up under-dressed, it just looks like you don’t really care, or that you simply don’t fit into the culture.

If you turn up over-dressed the worst reflection it has on you is to make you look enthusiastic and keen, which are both excellent traits to demonstrate in a job interview.

DO make a judgement call on the level of formality, and always err on the side of caution.

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 7. Don’t wear too much perfume

You might have the best smelling perfume or cologne in the world. But there’s no need to marinade in it before a job interview.

It will be overpowering for your interviewer, and will distract them from your professional traits. You don’t want to be remembered as the person who stank the interview room out.

DO go for a light spray. But it really only needs to be a light spray, probably less than you would normally wear. If in doubt, don’t wear any at all – better to be safe than sorry.

8. Don’t have an overgrown beard

Facial hair is more and more fashionable these days, especially amongst men (boom boom!). Just like your hair, a scruffy, unkempt beard gives the impression that you just don’t care, so should be avoided.

DO keep it trimmed, keep it neat, and keep it cornflake-free.

9. Don’t wear too much jewelery

Unless you’re interviewing to be Del Boy Trotter’s new assistant, your sovereign rings and gold chains will not make a good impression.

There is no need to wear too much jewelery.

DO keep it to a reasonable amount and professionally subtle and you should be OK.

10. Don’t carry a scruffy bag

Perhaps not the first thing you think about when you think of how to dress for a job interview, but your bag can play a part in the impression you give.

Imagine you’re interviewing for an office job, and you’re wearing a super sharp suit, neatly trimmed hair……and a scruffy old ruck-sack that you use to carry your football kit.

It just doesn’t go with the outfit, and damages your overall impression.

DO go for something smart, classy, in a non-offensive colour that compliments your outfit in order to maintain the impression that your hard work has generated.

So there you have it – 10 things to avoid when considering how to dress for a job interview. Please take note of these for your next job interview, and good luck!