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The Job Interview: What's Wrong With the Way You're Dressed?

Published: October 23, 2017

Wow! You landed the job interview and you know just what to say and how to act. But what are you going to wear? It may not be as simple as you think. You have your own sense of style and fashion and  you’re pretty proud of it, but you need to make sure that it doesn’t conflict with where you’re going. Here are some tips on what you should—and shouldn’t—wear on the interview:

Dirty clothes: This sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it’s important that your clothes look neat, tidy, and clean. That may mean breaking out an actual iron, polishing your shoes, tucking in, and standing up straight and tall so everything fits your physique the way it was intended.

Inappropriate attire: For you guys this means your boxers cannot be above your belt. For the ladies, no tightly fitting skirts, dresses, or short shorts, and avoid plunging necklines. Think business professional. If you’re stuck, do some undercover work before the interview and find out the company dress code. Then, step it up a notch. After all, they’ve already got the job; you’re the one dressing to impress.

Crazy, bright colors and patterns: Even if you have a flair for the dramatic, the interview is not where you want to show it off. The employer wants to know you’ll come to work and do your job. Like it or not, if your outfit screams for attention, the hiring manager is likely to think that you will too. What he wants is a team player, not someone who thinks it’s all about them.

Jangling jewelry and powerful perfume: Tasteful and understated is your goal. If the bangles on your wrists distract from the answers in your interview, you’re doing yourself a disservice. And cologne and perfume aren’t just negatively received; some people have allergic reactions to scents.

Earbuds as accessory: Electronics of any kind don’t belong in an interview. Turn off your phone, ditch the iTunes, and keep chargers, earbuds, and headphones far out of sight. Your undivided attention should be with the interviewer, as his should be with you. How would you like it if it seemed he was listening to music or on an earpiece conference call during your interview?

Extremely outdated styles: While you don’t have to dress in the latest fall fashion, you don’t want your clothes to make you appear as if you stepped out of the past. This doesn’t mean you need to go buy a whole new wardrobe for the interview process. Rely on some classic styles and opt for simple when in doubt.

Too much makeup: Are you seeking a job as a runway model? Then don’t wear gobs of makeup! You want to exude the aura of a hardworking, low-maintenance employee. If you send the message that you’ll be spending lots of time in the ladies room for makeup touch-ups, it’s the wrong message.

Outfits opposite of the job role: The job is for an Executive Assistant in a professional office and you show up in jeans. Wrong. Or it’s to work as a Medical Assistant and you’re dressed as if you’re heading out on a date. Wrong again. Consider the job for which you’re interviewing and use some good ‘ol common sense.

At Charter College, we don’t just provide our students with the skills to perform jobs in their careers, we teach them next steps and networking. What to learn more? Check out Career Services today.