Like it or not, we are often judged based on outward appearances, which means how you look at an interview can also decide your fate as an employee of your chosen company.
Some advertising companies insist that we should always be ourselves, but this doesn’t mean you should disregard rules that may be accepted in certain companies or fields.
So while it’s true that a rocker at heart can be a good lawyer, acid-wash jeans and a stretched T-shirt are unlikely to contribute to growing their client base. Therefore, regardless of your inner state, it’s important to understand how to look the part at a job interview.
It is not difficult to dress correctly for the interview if you know your future position requires business attire or if you have advanced knowledge of the company’s existing dress code.
It is much more difficult to understand how you need to look at the interview when it comes to certain creative professions or if you have not found anything about the employer's dress requirements. In such cases, adopting a business style is the best option to help you come across as a responsible and serious person at the interview. You may not need to wear a tie if you're going to work as a system administrator, but a suit and shirt will still be fine. This approach will show respect for the interviewers and that you take their opinion about your candidacy seriously.
A Note on Business-Style Attire
Despite the fact that business style is considered to be the most suitable manner of dress for an interview, it should be understood that people, in general, are becoming less formal than they were in the past. In practice, this means a three-piece suit or a floor-length skirt will not always be appropriate at an interview, and it’s better to add a touch of personality to your style than to look like you’ve just left a funeral—unless, of course, the company’s dress code is very conservative or formal.
Any dress or skirt that looks generally professional and is an appropriate length while not having too deep a neckline will be a better choice than an "old-fashioned" business suit.
A pantsuit or a jacket with a skirt will also look good when worn along with a matching shirt. Of course, the shirt should be dark in color, plain, and not have any inscriptions or other decorations.
Also, you should avoid clothes made of too-thin or overly expensive fabrics, which can wrinkle or cause you to look too much like a movie star. And be sure to choose shoes that are comfortable but match the other elements of your outfit.
As for jewelry, less is more. Limit yourself to one or two items that complement the clothes you have chosen.
The same applies to accessories. Branded or expensive accoutrements at an interview can hint to recruiters that you have nothing more to impress them with than your outward appearance.
When abandoning the classic suit-and-tie look, remember that you are trying to make your style look more modern.
Dark shirts with the top button unbuttoned or plain T-shirts can be appropriate as long as they don't clash with your suit. Be aware, however, that certain suits simply need classic shirts and even ties, so wearing a T-shirt under such jackets is inappropriate and shows a lack of taste.
At the same time, you can also wear jeans to an interview if they are dark and have a classic cut. But, in this case, be sure to wear a sport jacket, which has a looser cut and is made of certain fabrics. And if you wear a shirt without a jacket, don’t roll up your shirt sleeves.
Another note about jacket buttons at the interview: As a rule, the bottom button does not need to be fastened in single-breasted jackets. When sitting down, the jacket should also be unbuttoned so that it does not look crumpled or ill-fitting.
The Three Types of Dress Codes
Casual clothing is an everyday style with an emphasis on convenience and practicality. In this style, you can combine classics with ordinary urban clothes.
If your profession is creative, choose an outfit that will emphasize your individuality at the interview.
What to wear:
Casual is a very easy style to adopt. It includes the most diverse combinations: jeans, pants, a day dress, a shirt or sweater, and sneakers or shoes. You can also wear a suit for the interview. It all depends on your taste and creativity.
This style is characterized by a combination of classic and modern looks. Business casual refers to clothing such as a shirt with the top button undone, a pullover, jumper, or sweater, and no tie.
If you are going to an interview at a bank, legal or economic organization, or government institution, give preference to a business casual style.
What to wear:
Business casual is a stricter dress code than casual. You don’t want to wear jeans and sneakers for this interview. Instead, focus on suit, shirt, and tie combinations. Wearing a shirt with a jumper or cardigan is also acceptable.
Business best is a strict, classic dress code with certain rules that cannot be broken.
This style is perfect for management positions.
What to wear:
Business best is an expensive and strict business style with its own set of rules. Men should wear a dark blue or gray suit for the interview, a white shirt, and classic, unvarnished shoes. Women should abide by certain rules regarding the color of their clothes. Only calm colors are acceptable: gray, beige, and dark blue. A minimal set of accessories is allowed, and only black or dark brown shoes with a 1”–2” heel. Bare legs are unacceptable in the business best dress code, so be sure to wear hose.
What Not to Wear to an Interview
1. Lots of accessories and expensive jewelry.
You will have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your refined taste some other time, so dress simply and without any unnecessary elements for an interview.
2. Clothes with an open neckline.
Do not put the employer in an uncomfortable position. The interviewers will be afraid to lower their eyes below the level of your head for almost the entire conversation and will feel uncomfortable around you during the interview.
3. Clothes that are too tight.
Choose neutral forms of clothing without excessive transparency.
4. A too-short dress or skirt.
You are virtually guaranteed rejection if you ignore this point. The company will likely lose interest in you, and it will make people feel uncomfortable during the interview.
Wearing sports-related clothing is taboo during an interview, even if the work itself involves the most informal of appearances.
6. Untidy clothes.
Wearing unwashed, stained, or smelly clothes to the interview pretty much ensures you won’t get the job.
A job interview is an important conversation about work, and a person's clothing shows how serious they are about both the conversation itself and the job in general. Therefore, don’t neglect the elementary rules of dressing for an interview, especially if doing so can prevent you from getting your dream job. As remote interviews become the norm, some companies still value the personal touch. But why limit yourself? Embrace the future of work with Careerist training and land your dream fully remote tech job! Don't miss out on the flexibility and freedom that remote work offers. Join our comprehensive training programs today and let us help you unlock your potential in the tech world. Still thinking? Click here to learn the success stories of our students and start your journey to a fulfilling remote career!