How to Dress for Success During a Job Interview

four male and female applicants seated while waiting for the interview

• Dress professionally in an outfit that is appropriate and fits well, one step above the company’s typical office attire.

• Ensure accessories are polished and minimalistic in design. 

• Grooming should be done prior to the interview — visit the dentist for teeth cleaning or whitening, and trim your hair and nails. 

• Makeup should look natural for women, and men should moisturize their skin or shave.

• Perfect your body language — maintain eye contact, uncross arms, smile, and sit up straight with hands lightly folded on top of the table. 

The old saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to job interviews, you want to ensure that you immediately look professional and presentable. It doesn’t matter if the job you are applying for is in a casual office or corporate environment — you should always dress as if you are interviewing for the C-suite. Here’s a look at some tips on how to dress for success during an interview.

Dress Professionally

Your clothing should be appropriate and fit well. Make sure that any clothing items (suit, shirt, etc.) are ironed and free of wrinkles.

Avoid anything too flashy or distracting — you want your interviewer to focus on what you have to say, not what you’re wearing. If possible, try dressing one step above the typical office attire of the company.

For example, if the typical office dress code is business casual, then consider wearing a suit and tie or blazer with slacks. Meanwhile, if the office has a more formal dress code, try wearing a full suit.

woman smiling while walking outdoors in business casual clothing

Accessories Matter

Pay attention to accessories, as small details can make all the difference. A nice watch can lend an air of professionalism without being too flashy. Leather shoes or boots should also be polished before an interview — scuffed shoes may give off the impression that you don’t pay attention to detail or don’t care about making a good impression.

If wearing jewelry, keep it minimalistic — avoid large hoop earrings or pieces with bright colors that might draw more attention than necessary. You can instead opt for classic pieces like a pearl necklace or simple diamond studs.

Furthermore, bring a nicely organized portfolio or briefcase. This can be used to store copies of your resume and any other documents the interviewer may need. It also shows that you are organized and prepared.

Grooming is Key

Most importantly, make sure to groom yourself before any job interview. This seems simple enough, but it is often overlooked. Make sure to do the following before the scheduled appointment:

Visit Your Dentist

It goes without saying that you want to have a bright and confident smile for the interview. Visit your trusted dentist for a professional teeth cleaning or whitening session before the big day. It may cost some money, but in the end, it will pay off tenfold.

Trim Your Hair & Nails

Make sure to get a haircut and trim your fingernails. Both are easy ways to ensure you look presentable before the interview. Growing out a beard? Make sure it is well-groomed and trimmed around the edges.

Practice Using Natural-looking Makeup

If you plan to wear makeup, make sure it looks natural and not caked on. Stick to the basics, such as mascara and subtle lipstick colors. Avoid heavy contouring or bright eyeshadows that could draw too much attention away from your face.

Shave and Moisturize

For men, on the other hand, make sure to shave well and moisturize. This will make your skin look refreshed and less dull during the interview process. Not to mention, it can also help you look more professional and well-groomed.

man with coarse beard having it shaved off in a barber shop

Perfect Your Body Language

Finally, it is also important to practice good body language during an interview. Uncross your arms and keep a smile on your face as you make eye contact with the interviewer.

Posture should be straight but relaxed — sitting up too stiffly may come off as intimidating or unapproachable. Alternatively, slouching too much may make it difficult for the interviewer to take you seriously.

What you need to master is a posture that allows you to look confident yet approachable. A simple way to achieve this is by sitting up with your back straight and hands loosely folded on top of the table.

By taking the time to ensure you look presentable, you can make a good first impression and show your interviewer that you are serious about the job. Just remember to dress appropriately, groom yourself, and keep your body language in mind. You will be sure to impress the interviewer and ace your job interview.

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