What to Wear for an Interview

by Chad Agrawal

The first point about what to wear for an interview; be it for a university or college place or applying for a job is to be comfortable!

No matter how smartly dressed or perfectly turned out you are, if your clothes are not comfortable it will show through, making you appear awkward, ill-at-ease and even deceptive to the interviewer.

An applicant who is comfortable in the interview situation is going to appear a ‘better fit’, for the job or place, than one who is not.

If You're Not Sure About The Dress Code, Just Ask!

If you are unsure of the dress code in the business or university it is best to ask. It will never be held against you, in fact, many interviewers may count it as a sign of you being prepared to comply with dress requirements, have a desire to blend in and possess the simple good manners to find out what is required of you.

In general, job interviews deserve formal wear.

Unless specifically told otherwise, wear a suit and tie if you are male – or at the very least, smart trousers with long-sleeved shirt and tie - and smart office wear if female, for example a pencil skirt with neat blouse or skirt and jacket combination. Ties may, at your discretion, announce a little about your personality although if the college, university or business that you are applying to are known for a conservative stance even that flash of individuality should be toned down. Men, don’t forget your belt! It may be fashionable to have very low-rise trousers or jeans on the social scene, but interviewers prefer waistbands to be worn on the appropriate area of the anatomy.

This applies at college or university interviews too, where dress requirements may be fairly informal: there will still be an expectation of suitable attire for the occasion.

Clothing should never be old or fraying; not much gives a worse impression than a faded garment being forced into use for longer than advisable.

If it is necessary to buy new clothing for the interview, go as upmarket as you can afford, better quality clothes will not only help you gain the position, they will last longer and stay in better condition than cheaper clothes.

Wear the outfit you plan to wear for the interview at least once, for a couple of hours a few days before. This will firstly, take away that brand-new crispness that may otherwise give the impression of over-hasty preparation, maybe done at the last minute, and secondly will let you know how well the clothes fit over a period of time.

What seems snug but comfortable may turn into squeezing discomfort within an hour and being distracted by discomfort could potentially lose the position for you.

Wearing the outfit can also point out what tags have been accidentally left on.

What Kind of Shoes To Wear

Footwear is also very important to get right. Ladies should almost never wear a very high heel to an interview, they are awkward to walk in and make sitting and raising from a chair an ungainly hazard.

More serious-minded interviewers may seem overtly fashionable clothing, especially shoes, to be a sign of a frivolous mind – not the impression an applicant desires.

A low to medium court shoe, or closed toe flat pump is needed here, preferably in muted or dark colours. Men should never wear sneakers to an interview.

All men’s shoes should be plain, unadorned, and preferably leather.

These black or brown shoes will fit into almost any social situation from weddings to funerals and are perfect for the interview situation, even if the job itself is not going to require the wearing of formal clothing.

A final, interesting tip to leave you with: Interviewees who wear navy blue tend to be the most successful.

Good luck!

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Howey October 24, 2012 at 5:14 am

Great tips!


Chad Agrawal October 24, 2012 at 10:18 am

Thank you for the comment Howey


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