woman putting on earrings

First impressions may make or break your introduction in any situation. This is particularly true when interviewing for a position. Employers immediately form an opinion when they meet a potential employee for first time interviews.

In general, the candidate dressed in a suit and tie, or dress and heels, will make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in jeans and sneakers during interviews.

That said, different industries may have different expectations on how employees and candidates should dress. Silicon Valley firms might frown on someone who dresses to formally while Madison Avenue or Fortune 500 firms may frown upon someone who dresses to casually.

How to Dress for a Corporate Interview

Men’s Interview Attire

Here are examples of interview outfits for men. Men should always default to wearing a suit. All clothes should fit well and be free of stains.
• Suit in a solid color such as navy, black, or dark grey
• Long sleeved shirt that is white or color coordinated with the suit
• Leather belt
• Tie
• Dark socks and conservative leather shoes
• Little or no jewelry
• Neat, professional hairstyle
• Limited amount of aftershave
• Neatly trimmed nails
• Portfolio or briefcase

Women’s Interview Attire

In general, fashion for women is more complicated and varied than it is for men who have fewer options.

This makes assembling an interview outfit a bit more challenging for women than for men. For instance, if you’re wearing a dress or skirt, you need to decide if you should wear pantyhose or if bare legs are acceptable. Women also need to consider interview accessories and choose an appropriate purse.

The best interview bags are ones that are professional and large enough to fit a resume but aren’t flashy.
Here are the fundamental building blocks of what women should wear to a professional interview.
• Suit in navy, black, or dark grey
• Suit skirt just below or above the knee
• Coordinated blouse
• Conservative shoes
• Limited jewelry
• No dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets
• No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
• Professional hairstyle
• Neutral colored pantyhose
• Light make-up and limited amount of perfume
• Clean, neatly manicured nails
• Portfolio or briefcase

For more details on dressing for casual Interview and more interview tips, see Alison Doyle’s article at The Balance.

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