Jun 05, 2023
Landing an interview for a new job or internship is the first step to getting the position. The next task is preparing for the meeting—and what you wear could play an important role. Princeton University research suggests that interviewers tend to make snap judgements about a person’s competency based on their clothing. And that doesn’t always mean fancy—or even especially business-like.
Every company is different, but dressing the part can communicate that you understand the expectations of the role. You want your clothes to reflect that you’re a professional and that you understand the culture, not distract the interviewer from your qualifications. Here are some important things to consider when deciding what to wear to an interview.
What to wear to an interview depends largely on the industry, company, and location. For example, what you’d wear to a tech startup in Silicon Valley might be different from how you’d dress for a role at a corporate bank in the Midwest or laid-back marketing agency on the East Coast. If you aren’t sure what to wear, don’t be afraid to email your point person at the company. It can be as simple as asking them what the dress code is like.
Taking their lead—but also dress like yourself. It’s possible to show your personality while maintaining a sense of professionalism.
Whether you’re applying for an internship, part-time job, or post-college position, understanding the dress code can help you ace the interview—and feel comfortable and confident while doing it. The idea is to express yourself through your clothing while maintaining a sense of professionalism.
This look is synonymous with formal office wear and typically includes clothes, shoes, and accessories that are neat and tidy. That usually means no rips, frays, tears, or embellishments. You’ll probably be expected to avoid clothing that’s flashy or extreme in style or color. Here are some examples of what to wear to an interview that requires business professional attire:
Business casual is somewhere between business professional and casual. The overall look is clean and polished, but a suit and tie may be over doing it. Below are examples of what to wear to an interview that calls for business casual clothing:
If you’re interviewing with a company that embraces a casual dress code, you’ll want to clarify what that means. Flip-flops, yoga pants, and sweatpants probably aren’t an option. Every company is different, but casual attire implies a comfortable, relaxed look that’s still appropriate for the office. That may include:
Some interviews may be conducted online, especially for remote jobs. You’ll still want to keep things professional, even if it’s a video meeting.
It goes without saying that first impressions are everything. When deciding what to wear to an interview, steer clear of the following. They could take away from your qualifications.
Your outfit aside, there are other ways to get ready for an interview. The action items below can help you go into the meeting feeling prepared and confident: