Your presentation is the first thing employers see when you walk in the door for a job interview. They’re assessing everything from your clothing choices (is your outfit professional? modest? too revealing?) to your personal grooming (did you comb your hair?).
For parents returning to the workforce or for those looking to change to a new role, here are tips on how to dress for success for your next job interview.
Here’s what you need to know:
Keep it simple
This rule applies to both men and women. Don’t wear large, distracting jewelry; bold clothing choices; or overpowering scents. If a hiring manager only remembers you for your attire, then you’ve done something wrong. Your clothing should complete your image as a professional, not detract from it.
Pay attention to the details
Make sure all of your clothing is clean and spot-free. It should also be ironed with no wrinkles. Remove any outside tags and loose threads. This might sound picky, but it shows that you are meticulous and detail-oriented, traits that employers took for in new hires.
Make personal hygiene a priority
Employers will be assessing how you take care of yourself. So make sure your fingernails are clean, you’ve applied deodorant, and your hair is neat. Clean up the way you would before attending church or a family member’s wedding.
Apparel: We recommend wearing a blouse with a blazer and a skirt or formal trousers. For skirts, the hem should fall 1 inch below or above the knee. Make sure your clothing is not too tight or too revealing. For shoes, go with a small heel. If you’re teetering around, it’s not good. For interviews at the managerial level or a particularly formal establishment, consider wearing a matching two-piece suit.
Accessories: Less is more here. Some stud earrings and a small necklace are perfect choices. Avoid big, clunky jewelry that may distract your interviewer.
Personal grooming: Again, simplicity rules the day here. You’re interviewing for a job, not attending a party, so save the elaborate hairstyles and makeup for another occasion. Braids or a bun are great choices that project a professional image.
Apparel: Go for nice slacks and a collared dress shirt. Some positions, such as concierge, may require a jacket or full suit. If you’re not sure, ask the interviewer. And always wear dress shoes. Sports shoes and sandals are a definite no.
Accessories: A wedding ring and wristwatch are acceptable accessory options. Leave the other jewelry at home. You should also wear a belt and tuck your shirt in.
Personal grooming: Make sure to shave before the interview or trim any facial hair. Check that your hair is neat and clean — consider scheduling a hair cut before the big day.
Most importantly, be confident. Poise and self-assurance enhance any outfit.