7 Steps for Interview Dress Success

Congrats! Your resume and cover letter landed you an interview at your dream job. But now you must decide what interview outfit will show both your personality and professionalism. If you are agonizing over what to wear to your interview, follow these seven steps in order to dress for interview success.

1. Interview Attire Has Shifted

Thirty years ago every man coming in for an interview wore a suit; every woman a dress. However, in the past 10-15 years dress has become more causal. From tech companies to start-ups, employees have created a new relaxed work environment where jeans are appropriate every day of the week. Step 1 to choosing the appropriate interview outfit is understanding the new job culture.

2. Do Your Research

As mentioned in the previous tip, work attire has changed significantly in the past decade. The second step to choosing perfect interview clothing is researching the company and the industry. If you are interviewing at an established large corporation, then you are probably best in a suit. If you are interviewing at a local app start-up, then perhaps a nice shirt and slacks are fine. Half the battle in interviewing is proving that you belong and can be part of the team, and managers initially base that on what you are wearing.

3. Phone a Friend

If you are someone who isn’t experienced in interviewing and aren’t sure what you should wear, then you should ask someone who has more experience. Maybe you know someone who works in corporate recruiting who can tell you about different clothing choices. Or perhaps you know someone in the same industry who can give you an understanding of what most people wear on a daily basis. Step 3 is reaching out to someone who could help you dress your best.

4. Dress Cautiously

When it's time to get dressed for the interview, remember that it's not so much that you're trying to get the job with what you wear; rather, it's more a matter of not taking yourself out of the running with your presentation. Mostly likely if you dress on the cautious side, you will not unintentionally disqualify yourself.

5. Dress Up

A good rule of thumb to follow is to dress one to two jobs up from the one you are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for an Assistant HR position, then dress like you would if you were interviewing for the Director position.

6. Dress for Positive Impact

Wear your power outfit. Wear something that will make you feel good and positive about the interview, and that will translate into your personality and interactions with the hiring manager.

7. Use Your Judgment

In the end, dressing nicely and professionally proves that you care about this job and you understand the importance of the interview.  But use your best judgment. If you follow the previous 6 steps, then the chances are you understand what you should wear and will make the correct choice.


For more information, check out this Forbes.com article and this Monster.com article.