Dressing to Impress for a Job Interview

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The world we live in is driven by marketing, and if you are looking for a job, it is important to consider your interview outfit as an important way of marketing yourself. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy top designer clothing to make a statement. What you do need to do is take pride in how you look and adhere to the following guidelines to increase your odds of a job offer.

Employers are not at liberty to admit this, but the way a candidate dresses for the interview plays an important factor in their decision making. This is the only chance candidates get to make a positive and lasting first impression.


The Formal Interview

As a rule of thumb, always dress one notch above what is considered to be suitable daily attire for the industry in which you are interviewing. According to an article in Forbes, “What one person wears to an advertising interview is very different from what a person wears for a financial services interview”.[1] You could opt to do a simple research by hanging around the lobby during lunch hour or the parking lot as people go home just to get an idea of what people wear. Copy the best dressed person you see, but do it better. For both men and women, suits are preferable because they do not go out of style. The only thing that changes is the design or material that is used.



Opt for dark, neutral colors. “Unless the job is at an undertaker’s, don’t wear a black suit” jokes a writer for GQ.[2] Cotton is better than linen, even during the summer, because it does not crease. Shoes need to be black or brown- black goes well with a grey or blue suit while brown shoes can be worn with a blue or brown suit. Be sure to avoid mixing brown and black in your outfit and go for leather shoes instead of suede.

Garish patterns on ties should be avoided because they can distract an interviewer. The tie is ideally meant to compliment the whole ensemble. You can match it with the suit as well as the shirt. It is always easier to go for a plain white shirt with a single-colored, non-patterned tie. The same should apply to your socks because the interviewer will definitely notice.



Women have flexibility between a jacket paired with a skirt or pants. When it comes to skirts, the hemline should be no more than a pen’s length above your knee. Black is always perfect. Navy or brown are also fine, especially in the summer.

A simple striped or plain blouse is a safe option, with white being the most preferable. You should avoid patterns at all costs. You can add some color to your outfit with a scarf, but avoid getting adventurous with the shoes. Your heels should remain at a height that is sensible. Stick with a simple black pump or polished black boots depending on the weather.[3]


If you look great, you will feel confident, and you have a higher chance of impressing your interviewer. Ensure that what you wear reflects your personality yet maintains a safe level of conservatism, particularly for the first interview. Do the necessary prep work before the interview, and you are sure to impress your audience.

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[1] Smith, J. (2013). How to dress for your next job interview. Forbes. Retrieved on 2 December 2016 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/06/20/how-to-dress-for-your-next-job-interview/2/#1262195b6e08

[2] GQ. (2016). Retrieved 2 December 2016 at http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/how-to-dress-job-interview

[3] The Daily Muse. Retrieved on 2 December 2016 at https://www.themuse.com/advice/looks-that-land-the-job-what-to-wear-to-any-interview