Getting dressed for an upcoming job interview can be an anxiety-inducing experience, particularly if you’ve been out of the job market for a while. But choosing the right outfit is an important part of preparing for the interview and giving yourself the best shot. Read on to learn more about what you should and should not wear to an upcoming job interview in order to land a job offer.
Why Is What You Wear Important?
You might think that what you wear to a job interview is not important; however, research shows that you are incorrect. Psychology studies reveal that first impressions are formed within 7 to 17 seconds of meeting someone. This means that as soon as the interviewer sees you, they will form an opinion about you. Having them start with a positive opinion of you makes it much easier to win the interviewer over during the interview with your responses and personality. By taking time to dress properly for the situation, you can set yourself up for success and increase your chances of getting a job offer.
What Should You Wear?
Here are some general tips for dressing appropriately for a job interview, regardless of your gender or the position you’re interviewing for:
- Wear a collared or buttoned shirt for a modest, appropriate look
- Long pants are preferable to shorts, even in hotter climates
- Both men and women should wear close toed shoes
- Keep jewelry to a minimum and remove obvious piercings
- Long hair should be pulled back in a neat, simple style with simple or few accessories
The job interview is not the best time to express your unique personal style. By keeping it neutral, the interviewer will be better able to concentrate on your responses and not what you are wearing. Once you begin working and get informed on the actual dress code in the work environment, you can dress more in line with your preferences while respecting the rules.
What Should You Avoid Wearing to a Job Interview?
Some things to avoid as you get dressed for your interview:
- Clothing with potentially offensive slogans, political affiliations, or explicit drawings
- Baseball caps and hats
- Work boots
- Tank tops or crop tops
Interviewees can get confused about going to an interview at a more casual work location, like a manufacturing facility or a sports bar. But even if the work environment is a more casual one, you should avoid wearing casual clothes such as jeans, t-shirts, or sandals to the initial interview. This will help the interviewer see that you take the interview process seriously and are serious about getting the job. Once you have been offered the job and start working, you can then wear the more casual clothes appropriate for the work environment and your lifestyle.
Tips for Making a Good Impression
Dressing nicely is not the only way to perform well in a job interview. If you’re really hoping to land the position, learn some information about the company or industry that you can work into the conversation. For example, if you are interviewing for a position as an insurance adjuster, you could learn statistics about underwriters and the companies they work with. For example, as of 2018, of the reported 110,400 employed underwriters, roughly 42% worked with direct insurance carriers. You could use this knowledge to formulate an answer to a question in the interview, or use it to ask a question at the end of the interview, showing your interest in the industry.
Remember, some 55% of a person’s opinion is determined by physical appearance, so taking the time to pick out the right outfit is well worth the effort.