How to Dress for an Interview in 2021

interview outfit

Dressing for an interview can be confusing if you are not sure about your audience and what type of interview outfit they approve. First impressions count. So if we’re going by that standard, you want to be appropriately dressed for any interview. In my years of interviewing people there are a few things that have stood out, and while they may not impact your hire entirely, they do provide a sense of warning about you if you don’t fit the bill.

Here are a few things that I would be aware of when trying to get the job based on your interview attire. And I’ve added a few “pieces” at the end that should help if you’re rushing to put an outfit together.

1. Research the Company

You should plan to research the company anyways – so you can be prepped on what type of company, place, product or service you are trying to get into. And on the other hand, this also helps you identify the culture of the company and how your manner of dressing fits (or does not) in. For example, a Tech Start Up may not be as interested in you wearing a suit to the interview if they are usually in jeans and a T-shirt. Use the world wide web to research the place and the culture so that you interview outfit is appropriate.

2. Over Dressed

One thing to be aware of is that you can be overly dressed for an interview too. You don’t want to give off the impression that you are too good for the company or your potential manager. Or that you have a stern approach to work and that in turn makes you unapproachable. Again, first research the company and culture and find that middle ground.

3. Inappropriate Interview Outfit

Okay, so I am all for women’s rights (and men’s rights, guys) and being proud of your body and all that jazz. However, we do live in a world that is unfortunately very judgmental. When you are trying to secure an income, does it really do you any good to wear that low-cut top, or that mini-skirt, or your bra-strap hanging off your shoulder? Or that un-ironed shirt, loose tie, or missing button. Before you choose your outfit, and like we’ve said already, first impressions count, ask yourself what is the image you want for your self-worth at this place? Go in with the mindset that your physical appearance is the image that will carry for the length of time at this place, that is, if they hire you.

4. Groom Yo’self

This is a general rule not only for interview, but also for life. Please always make sure you are taking care of your body too and not just your clothes. Make sure you are showered (yes, dealt with this quite a few times and its both genders so no discrimination here), deodorized, hair put together (ladies, if you’re having a bad hair day, I suggest putting it in a high pony tail, or for short hair – pull it back with a hair band). And before you walk into the building, look in a mirror! Make sure you don’t have anything unsightly on you that could take away from your amazing interview skills.

A Few things to keep in mind:

Do

  • Clean Clothes
  • Neutral Colors
  • Dresses and skirts that hit the knee
  • Tops and shirts that are buttoned up
  • Well groomed
  • Iron or steam your clothes
  • Shoes brushed and shined
  • Manicured, or at the very least nails cut short and cleaned up
  • Minimal Jewelry
  • Minimal Makeup
  • Belt that holds, no one needs to see you pull it up every time you move

Do not

  • Short Skirts
  • Jeans, even if it is a start-up
  • Ripped or distressed clothing
  • Blaringly obvious pantyhose (keep it neutral)
  • Body Jewelry
  • Excessive Makeup
  • Excessive Deodorant/Perfume

In Conclusion

At the end of it all, this is just one element of your interview and you do not want to give your potential future employers any reason to not move forward because of what you wore or because you want to be you and they should deal with it. They don’t have to deal with it when they have the power to reject you. What you want to make sure is that your attire is not distracting enough, and that you know how to interview – read my post on how to get a job fast. After putting all that work in, all the interview panel can focus on is your gumption and how you will make the job your own and be of value to the company. Good luck!

How do you get ready for an interview?

Featured photo courtesy of pexels.com

Article last updated April 6th, 2021

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