What To Wear To A Job Interview

What To Wear To A Job Interview

You have less than 8 seconds to create a good first impression

You might already be aware that you have less than 8 seconds to create a good first impression during a job interview. What you might not know is how to create a good first impression and be remembered a smartly dressed, well-presented professional.

The Basics

Avoid eating strongly flavoured foods before your interview. This is particularly important if your interview is scheduled after lunchtime. Stick with a simple sandwich or salad minus garlicky spreads or dressings. Be sure to check your teeth before the interview, that you have no food or lipstick stuck to them.

Hair should be freshly washed and neatly styled. If you’re a woman you might find wearing your hair in an up-style more manageable with the added benefit of removing the temptation of fussing with it before or during the interview.

Women should stick to natural nails or wear a neutral tone polish being sure the polish is not chipped. Men should pay attention to their nails too, making sure they are clean and neatly trimmed.

If you’re a smoker be sure to wash your hands after your last cigarette and have some mints handy to freshen your breath before the interview. It’s also a good idea to have some bottled water with you to keep yourself hydrated.

What to Wear

The general rule is to dress equal or a step above what is worn by staff on a daily basis. It’s a good idea to do some research beforehand to find out how staff in the workplace dress. If you can’t visit the workplace yourself, ask someone who works there or who has done business with the company how staff dress on a day-to-day basis.


For most white collar jobs a suit or suit jacket is advisable along with a collared, button up shirt or blouse, trousers or skirt. Try and keep clear of overly bright colours and gaudy patterns. White, pinstripes or soft pastels are fine and if wearing a tie, be sure it’s stylish and not too ‘loud’.


If the workplace is overly casual, it’s recommended you dress more smartly for your interview. A collared, button up shirt or blouse along with trousers or a skirt will do fine. If you are interviewing for a creative role, you could consider adding a scarf or other suitable accessories but the key thing to remember is that less is more. Keep your look classic and simple and you can’t go wrong.

Formal Interview Wear

A smart business suit is advisable for most white collar jobs

Smart-Casual Interview Wear

If the workplace is more casual, you are interviewing for a creative industry or your interview will be less than formal (e.g. in a cafe or other social environment) you could consider wearing something a little more casual:

Casual wear for women

Recap/Quick tips:
  • Dress according to the work environment
  • Don’t wear too much jewellery
  • Remove any facial piercings
  • Clean hair and nails
  • Fresh breath
  • Don’t apply too much perfume/aftershave
  • Clean shoes (shine if necessary)

For more tips on dressing appropriately for a job interview, watch this short video produced by Monster on What To Wear For A Job Interview:

If you have any specific questions about how to dress for a job interview please post them in the comments section below for an answer.

Lisa LaRue is a registered Career Coach at CareerWorx with more than 20 years’ experience helping people plan, manage and find happiness in their careers.

  • vedika
    Posted at 05:00h, 02 April Reply

    Very nice article!
    I have found it best and helpful. I was looking for some tips and guide on what should be my attire for an interview as fresher job seeker. Really interview outfit plays big part in creating an impression as potential employer. Thanks a lot for sharing this article!

    • CareerWorx
      Posted at 09:57h, 31 May Reply

      Glad you found it helpful Vedika! You’re right, what you wear to an interview does play a large part in how your interviewers perceive you in terms of professionalism and suitability for a role. Wishing you every success in your career.

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