What to wear to a job interview

What to wear to a job interview? That’s the age-old question. Should your job interview outfit be business casual, smart casual or just casual? Do you wear a full suit or will some pants and a shirt suffice? Not to mention your hair and (potential) makeup. The times have changed, so it’s no longer necessary for women to wear dresses to an interview and men to wear suits to interviews. That’s great, of course, but it gives you even more choice in what to wear to a job interview.

Preparing for a job interview can be stressful enough, so the last thing you want is to worry about what to wear to your job interview. That’s why we’ve written a whole article about job interview clothes. In this article, we’ll give you some ideas and tips, and we’ll also tell you what isn’t appropriate attire for an interview. After reading this article, you’ll know exactly what (not) to wear to your next job interview.

How do you decide what to wear to a job interview?

Figuring out what to wear to a job interview can be pretty tricky. Not every company adheres to the same dress code, so you can’t always pick one outfit as your go-to ‘job interview outfit’. You need to adapt for each company you’re applying to.

The best place to start figuring out what to wear to a job interview is the company you’re interviewing with. Take a look on their website to see if it says anything about a dress code, or try searching for some info on Google. Even if it doesn’t specifically say anything about a dress code on the website, you can usually get a good idea from images of employees, which can often be found on the company website or even a social media page. If you really can’t figure out what’s appropriate interview attire, you can always get in touch with the recruiter or employer you’re interviewing with and ask them. Most of the time, this will make them feel like you’re really taking this interview seriously and they can see that you’re actually putting in the effort to prepare.

Ideas for interview outfits for women

The most important thing to note when figuring out what to wear to a job interview, is that you should look professional and polished. Nowadays, stores are full of professional interview clothes for women. Thankfully women’s job interview outfits no longer consist of stiff dresses or -worse-, skirted suits with shoulder pads a-la ‘working girl’. There are plenty of options for interview attire for women. Here are a few interview dress tips for female candidates to help you figure out what to wear to a job interview as a female:

  • A blazer and blouse always look professional and stylish. Opt for a nice, plain blouse with a dark blazer. If the company is a bit more modern, you can even go for a brighter coloured blazer, such as an orange or pink.
  • Show some personality with fun (but professional) patterns. Depending on the company dress code, you can add a patterned blouse on top of simple trousers. Make sure the pattern is simple, like dots, and not too busy.
  • Black dresses and tights are always a winner. Don’t know what to wear to your job interview? This combo is classic, timeless women interview wear. If it’s a professional, traditional company, you can’t go wrong with a black, knee-length dress with black tights. If the company is a bit more modern, you can spruce up this outfit with some accessories or a colourful blazer.
  • If it’s appropriate for the company, try a statement dress. When applying for a fashion company, you’re obviously going to dress differently from when you’re applying for a job at a bank. If the company dress code is a bit more relaxed or fashion-forward, you can wear a statement dress to show off your sense of style.
  • Add a pop of colour. Again, depending on the company, you can add a pop of colour to your job interview outfit. Think of coloured jewellery, a small coloured handbag, colourful lipstick or a coloured blazer.
  • Use simple and classic accessories. When accessorizing, keep your jewellery modest and understated. You want the interviewers’ attention on what you’re saying, not on your oversized earrings or funky necklace.
  • Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes with no or a moderate heel. A black kitten heel pulls together nearly any interview outfit. Make sure your shoes are close-toed and not too high.
  • Wear tights under skirts and dresses. Yes, even for job interviews in the summer. Most companies are still pretty old-fashioned when it comes to bare skin, so make sure to wear black or skin-coloured tights under any dress or skirt.
  • Dark colours look classy and professional. When in doubt, go dark. A nice black, dark grey navy always looks professional. Go for a pantsuit, blazer, skirt or pants in one of these colours, but make sure you colour-coördinate. Dark colours are always a safe bet when you don’t know what to wear to your job interview.

 

Ideas for interview outfits for men

As for women, there are plenty of options for interview clothes for men. Nowadays, most companies won’t expect you to show up to a job interview in a full suit. Trying to figure out what to wear to your job interview? We’ve got some tips for interview attire for men, including business attire and (smart) casual interview clothes:

  • Wear long-sleeved collared shirts. If you’re unsure what to wear to your job interview, buttons up are a classic choice. If the company is more casual, you can also opt for a nice polo.
  • Go for chinos or dress pants. Avoid wearing jeans. If the company is traditional, you may want to wear a suit, but most times chinos or dress pants with a nice shirt will suffice.
  • For shoes, go for a dark colour (and matching socks). Make sure your (dress) shoes are polished and free of scratches. Choose a dark colour, like brown or black. Make sure your socks are matching. Depending on the company style, you can wear a solid pair or, if the company is more modern and casual, go for a fun pattern.
  • Match your belt to your shoe colour. This really ties the outfit together.
  • When wearing a suit, go for a solid print or a pinstripe. Some companies still want you to wear a full suit. If you don’t know what to wear to your job interview with a professional, high-level, traditional company, go for a single-breasted, two-piece suit in a dark colour.
  • For dress shirts, choose white or light colours. A light shirt with a dark jacket and dark pants is a nice, professional combination.
  • Choose a tie that matches the company dress code. For most companies, you want to go for a simple, solid coloured tie. However, if you’re applying to a company that values creativity and forward fashion, you might be able to add some personality through a fun pattern.

 

Does what to wear to a job interview depend on gender?

Even though we’ve just given you some tips for what to wear to a job interview for men and women, we believe that clothes don’t have a gender. Nowadays there are way more genders than just male and female, and we believe that every single gender can wear whatever they want. However, some companies are still a bit old fashioned and would expect you to adhere to old fashioned gender rules when it comes to dressing for a job interview. If that’s the case and you don’t feel comfortable wearing the clothes associated with your gender, you may want to reconsider working at such an old fashioned company. The utmost important rule for what to wear to your job interview: be yourself and wear what you feel comfortable in.

Interview hairstyles: what’s appropriate?

Once you’ve figured out what to wear to a job interview, you’re still not quite finished. What you wear to a job interview is probably the most important part of looking professional, but if you show up to an interview with an insurance company sporting a lime green mohawk, odds are you won’t be taken very seriously. Although we want employers to hire us because we’re qualified, the first thing an interviewer will notice about you is your appearance. Shallow, we know, but that’s just how the human psyche works. So in order for you to make the perfect first impression, you should make sure you look good from head to toe, and that means putting effort into more than just what you wear to a job interview.

Let’s talk about appropriate hair for an interview. For people with short hair, it’s pretty hard to go wrong when it comes to how to wear your hair to a job interview. Make sure it’s tidy, using a small amount of hair product to keep the hair slicked down and out of your face. Don’t go overboard though; no one likes an overly gelled, greasy-looking coupe.

If you have longer hair, the most important thing is that you want to look professional and polished. Whether you decide to put your hair up or keep it down, make sure you don’t have any hair falling down your face. If you have a busy outfit or colourful makeup, you may want to keep your hair simple, like in a nice ponytail or top bun. You can really use your hair to tie together a look, either toning it down or taking it up a notch to add a touch of flair.

Job interview makeup: do’s and don’ts

First things first: at Jobbird, we believe that wearing makeup is not tied to a specific gender. Anyone can wear makeup if they feel like it. However, not all companies feel the same way, especially during the hiring process. If you’re someone who likes to express themselves through makeup, you might want to seriously reconsider working for a company that won’t allow you to be your true self.

Once you’ve figured out what to wear to your job interview and how to style your hair, it’s time to think about your makeup. If you’re applying for a job in makeup or something similarly creative, this is your chance to go all out. Odds are, however, that you’re going to be applying for a different job, so you’ll want to make sure not to overdo it during the interview. Go for a soft and natural look, avoiding bright colours and thick layers.

What not to wear to a job interview

Now that we’ve given you some ideas for what to wear during a job interview, here are some things you definitely should not wear:

  • Unless the company is incredibly casual, don’t wear jeans.
  • Make sure your skirts reach your knees, and your neckline is not too deep.
  • Avoid heavy cologne and perfume.
  • Don’t wear overly big, chunky or colourful accessories (unless this suits the company dress code)
  • Take your headphones off your neck before you enter the room.
  • Leave hats and caps at home.
  • Avoid open-toed shoes such as sandals.
  • Don’t wear sneakers or sports shoes unless this fits the company dress code.
  • Shorts (and bare legs in general) are a no-no.

Even though we’ve spent this entire article telling you what (not) to wear during a job interview, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and that you stay true to yourself. Don’t change your entire appearance for the sake of the interview, but try to give your personal style a professional touch, without losing your personality.

Still, looking for that perfect job? Take a look at our vacancies. Before you know it, you’ll be back trying to figure out what to wear during your job interview.

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FAQ

  • What should I wear to a job interview?
    There are countless options for job interview outfits, both for females and males. What you should wear to your job interview depends on the company’s dress code. Need some inspiration? Make sure to check out our article.
  • How should I style my hair for a job interview?
    This depends on the company dress code, as well as your chosen job interview outfit and makeup. If the company requires you to wear your hair up at all times, that’s an easy answer. If you have more freedom, you can choose to wear your hair up or down, depending on how simple your outfit and makeup are.
  • Should I wear makeup to a job interview?
    This depends on the company you’re applying to, but most companies will allow you to wear makeup. Unless you’re applying for a very creative job, such as a makeup artist, keep your makeup natural and toned down.
  • What should I not wear to a job interview?
    A few things you should not wear to a job interview are jeans, sneakers, shorts and caps.