Job Interviews – Making an Impression

How Should I Dress for the Interview?

Research shows that many interviewers make decisions in the first four minutes, and that the first thirty seconds of the interview are the most crucial.

The first information an interviewer receives about you, your personal appearance and dress, often make a lasting impression. With that in mind, you’ll want to communicate with every fiber that you are the person for the job!

Dressing appropriately doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a three-piece navy suit or shopping at the most expensive store in town. If at all possible inquire about the dress code for employees before you arrive for your interview. This will give you clues as to the corporate climate. However, even if everyone works in shorts and T-shirts, you do not want to show up for your interview dressed in similar fashion. All interviews, no matter what the job, should be approached with the desire to make the best professional impression possible. In our culture, that means formal attire of varying degrees.

As a general guideline, men will want to dress in a blue, or dark gray wool or wool blended suit. Shirts should always be white or pale blue and long-sleeved. For jobs that are outside or where a uniform will be worn, the applicant should still wear somewhat formal attire to the interview, such as a brown or blue sports coat with a matching shirt and coordinating tie. Men should avoid wearing jewelry to the interview other than a watch and wedding band – earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are out. Avoid using colognes as well. If possible, have your suit and shirt professionally cleaned and pressed before the interview. A nicely starched shirt free of wrinkles speaks volumes as to your attention to detail. For women, there is a little more room for individual style and creativity, but don’t over do it. Basic guidelines that apply to men’s attire also carry over to women’s: always look professional. Your best bet is a nicely tailored wool or linen suit with a matching long-sleeved blouse and low-heeled pumps. Avoid flamboyant jewelry and strong perfumes. Women will also want to avoid carrying both a briefcase and a purse to the interview. If you choose to carry a briefcase, tuck your personal items inside of it as well.

Try your outfit on before the day of the interview. Have someone you trust critique your appearance. Make sure you are comfortable both walking and sitting. Good grooming is essential; on the day of your interview, be sure you leave plenty of time to prepare both physically and mentally.

Other Points to Keep in Mind:

  • Enter the room standing tall and confident
  • Shake hands firmly
  • Be courteous
  • Relax and build a relationship with the interviewer(s) with small talk
  • Decline offers of coffee or goodies
  • Wait to be shown where to sit, then take your seat keeping your back straight and your arms at your side with your hands resting on your lap
  • Make eye contact with everyone in the room
  • Avoid distraction
  • Wait for the interviewer to say something first
  • Speak firmly and clearly
  • Avoid simple “yes” and “no” answers
  • Use achievement statements
  • Be comfortable with silence, recognize it, and use it to regroup
  • When the interviewer is speaking, focus on what is being said. Listen to what he is saying and answer the questions completely. Include examples of how you have demonstrated your skills and abilities.


Sign up for our newsletter!