What to wear to a job interview


Your CV and cover letter has won you an interview. Now it's time to make the right first impression so you can land your dream job.

The outfit is an important part of your job pitch and what you choose to wear will be different depending on the culture of the workplace you are applying for.

Your outfit helps make the perfect first impression. Photo: Getty

There is no set interview uniform, but there are a few don'ts to consider when you're pulling your interview outfit together. Don’t show too much skin and don't show up in a shirt or dress that looks like you've just lifted it out of the bottom of your hamper.

Be yourself

Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in so you can focus your energy on answering those important interview questions.

Lisa Aiken, Fashion Director at Net-A- Porter, told Marie Claire that "whatever the job or position, it’s important to wear something that you feel represents you and what you’re about".

"Add something that makes the outfit identifiably ‘you’, whether it’s a piece of sentimental jewellery or a cool accessory."

It's a message backed by Jorden Bickham, Vogue.com's Executive Fashion Editor.

“Always be yourself. Don’t ever go out and buy some version of who you think said job wants you to be.”

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Dress for success, but not too successfully

Alessandra Codinha, Culture Editor at Vogue, advises candidates to add a touch of your personal style so you feel like yourself - not a corporate clone.

“Nothing too flashy or obviously expensive. (If you have a crocodile Birkin, great! Don’t bring it.) It doesn’t read well. Obviously what is appropriate or how much personal style is expected depends on your intended profession, but I think subtlety is always a good bet.

"Subtlety is always a good bet." Source: Alessandra Codinha, Getty.

"Let’s say it’s a creative field, but corporate: I think you want to look responsible and pulled together but also, you know, like yourself. This would be the time for Marni or Céline or The Row, or Melet Mercantile, something clever and chic—just like you.”

Black is best

Classic and simple. Source: Peony Lim.

A new study, which was sponsored by digital recruiting company SmartRecruiters, examined nearly 2,000 job applicants and found 70 per cent of hired candidates wore a "mostly black" outfit to their interview.

Only 33 per cent of rejected candidates wore black.

No distractions

Ida Liu, managing director, global market manager for Citi Private Bank, told Glamour magazine that interviewees should pick outfits which won't distract the interviewer from their message when they are applying for a job in finance.

“The interview should be focused on the message you're trying to convey,” she said, "that's key for women to keep in mind when applying to positions in finance."

“Your clothing shouldn't be stealing the show or, worse, distracting from your message.”

A few of Liu’s tips to make sure that doesn’t happen: “Avoid loud patterns, large accessories, and jewelry, and sleeveless dresses. If in doubt, leave it out.”

She recommends woman opt for the conservative side of the spectrum with well-tailored dark pants or a skirt suit.

Blogger Sara Donaldson's well-tailored pant suit is a smart choice. Source: Harper and Harley, Instagram.

Brooke Ely Danielson, Vogue.com Accessories Editor, agrees that simple is your best bet.

“I think it’s best to keep the outfit simple, with no designer logos and nothing too loud and bright. It’s important to be comfortable and feel like yourself all while dressing for the job in question.

"Nothing you wear to an interview should be too loud or over-the-top, but should definitely show some personality."

Laid back

Tinder and other big tech companies have turned the office dress code on its head, with bosses now wearing jeans and T-shirts.

So you might want to think twice about wearing a power suit for a tech job interview.

You might want to think twice about wearing a power suit for a tech job interview. Source: Getty.

“Most people know that when they’re interviewing at a tech start-up, they can keep it pretty casual,” Rosette Pambakian, VP of global communications and branding at Tinder, told Glamour.

“It’s hard to know what you’re walking into, but if you’ve done your research, you should have a good sense of the company culture.

"In Tinder's case, we're a company with a young team and [a] really inclusive, friendly [vibe]. You can leave the high heels and briefcase at home.”

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