Job Interview: Do The Clothes Really Matter?

Job interviews are stressful enough without having to worry about what you’re going to wear, but unfortunately how you dress plays an important role in whether or not you will be hired.


Your clothes are essentially playing the supporting role in the interview itself.

It gives the interviewer a first impression of you – and if you’re hoping to land the job, you want it to be good.

As important as experience, the proper schooling as the following article shows, be it attending a traditional four-year school or learning through the value of online education, and a positive attitude prove critical, what you pull out of the closet or dresser that day could go a long way in determining whether you get hired or passed over.

What to wear to your next job interview

Depending on the type of company you’re interviewing for and the position will depend on what you should wear to the interview.

If the company is professional, dress as professional as possible. If it’s more of a casual environment, still dress professionally – but you don’t need to wear a suit and tie.

Some rules for dressing for a job interview include:

  • Dress in business casual attire unless the company dresses professionally on a daily basis. If this is the case, you will want to wear a suit and tie.
  • All clothes should be clean and wrinkle-free.
  • Clothing should fit you. Pants should be the appropriate length and shirts should fit nicely, without being too loose or too revealing.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes. For women, a simple pair of black closed-toe heels is always preferred.
  • Keep cologne or perfume to a minimum. If possible, skip this altogether since you won’t know if the interviewer has an allergy.
  • Be well-groomed. Men should have no facial hair and a recent haircut. Women should style their hair so it’s neat and away from their face.
  • Dress simply. In other words, don’t wear flashy prints or patterns. Keep it simple.
  • Wear minimal jewelry. Men can wear a watch and wedding ring. Women should stick to simple earrings, a watch, wedding ring and simple necklace.
  • Dress for the weather. Keep the weather in mind when choosing your attire. If it’s spring or summer, don’t wear all black. If it’s wintertime, stick to neutral colors as opposed to wearing a pink blouse.

What not to wear on your next job interview

You would think dressing for an interview would be common sense, but unfortunately for some people, it’s not. Some candidates show up wearing jeans or looking like they just rolled out of bed. Though this is surprising, it does happen more often than you’d like to believe.

For your next job interview, take into account a few things you should not wear:

  • Flip-flops or tennis shoes. No matter what the company does, always wear professional shoes.
  • Shorts or jeans. This is too casual – stick with khakis or dress pants, and never wear shorts.
  • Anything too revealing. This could be offensive to the interviewer and it gives you the image that you’re not professional.
  • Too much jewelry or makeup. Keep it simple. There is no point in overdoing your jewelry or makeup. A natural look is always the most professional.
  • Stained clothing or clothing with graphics. Clothing should always be neat, clean and wrinkle-free. Never wear a t-shirt with graphics (or a t-shirt at all). Always choose a button-down shirt.

How you look is the first impression the interviewer is going to have of you, so make it count.

Of course, you want to have an outgoing personality and be easy to get along with, but if you’re dressed poorly these things may not matter to your potential employer.

First impressions count, so make yours one to remember.

About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer in Charlotte, NC. She writes on careers, personal finance and travel.