Dressing properly for an interview is very important, as your appearance contributes to the first impression you will make. It is always best to research the company for guidelines, through social media, current employees or the website, as some companies may be less formal than others. When in doubt, dress for the role in question. For example executive and corporate positions will require a different dress code than a construction worker, a fast-food server or a sports trainer. Whether formal or casual, you should always make an effort to look your best.
There are many opinions about how a candidate should dress for an interview. There is no one answer; however, it is always best to dress professionally. If you are interviewing for a corporate, executive level position such as banking and law - especially in a large city environment, it may be appropriate to choose “business professional” outfits. For gentlemen, that might mean wearing a suit, tie, coordinating socks and polished shoes. For ladies, a suit with knee-length skirt or tailored slacks would be the proper choice. Staying with blue, black or gray are preferred color choices for corporate positions. Ultimately, the attire you choose will depend on the industry, culture and dress code. When in doubt, you can always reach out to HR for suggestions.
For other industries, you should research the organization and gather clues from the environment and culture they present. For example, a tie may not be necessary for every interview; however, a clean, ironed shirt and tailored slacks will always be acceptable. Ladies may choose dresses, or coordinated separates that will not detract from the important aspect of the meeting - you selling your talents. Shorts, t-shirts and flip flops would not, typically, be recommended attire. All jobs, and interviews are different. Lifeguards will not dress like an investment banker. Avoid wearing a business suit if everyone in the organization is more casual.
Even if you are interviewing for a position in the food or construction industry, dressing up for the meeting will demonstrate that you have made an effort and will distinguish you from the many others interviewing for the same position. “Smart/Business casual” is a term to describe attire worn that is not overly professional, and not too casual. If you decide to wear jeans, they should be dark blue and ironed. Avoid t-shirts and any clothing that would present a disheveled appearance. Strong colors and prints may detract from the interviewer’s ability to focus on you and your answers. Cool tones, such as blue, purple or green are said to be excellent coordinating choices to pair with black slacks or a skirt.
If you have extensive, visible tattooing, you may want to wear clothing that covers the tattoos for your first interview. Piercings, tattoos and alternative hair colors may be off-putting to some interviewers. Nails should be clean; shoes should be polished; hair should be combed. Makeup should appear professional and not overly applied. Unless seeking a job in a creative industry, avoid trendy clothing. You want to avoid distractions by minimizing accessories, and eye-catching colors and apparel. The goal of your initial interviews is to advance your candidacy and demonstrate your ability to successfully add value to their organization.
All clothes should be neat and tidy. When you are really uncertain, try to dress like the boss or the people working at the company. If in doubt, err on the side of being over dressed, but always stay true to your own style and brand. These are guidelines, but individuality will also be valued. Bring copies of your resume, presented in portfolios, which will add to your professionalism.