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Tips on how to dress for an interview

Having trouble scoring interviews? Consider using a CV template to help boost your chances.

Having trouble scoring interviews? Consider using a CV template to help boost your chances.

Published May 3, 2022


As soon as you walk into an interview, the potential employer is already forming an initial impression based on your appearance and demeanour.

As a result, your outfit and how you present yourself at your interview is just as important as your CV and cover letter. Of course, you will need a strong CV in order to land the interview in the first place. Having trouble scoring interviews? Consider using a CV template to help boost your chances.

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Research the company’s attire

First, do some basic research about the company to determine how current employees dress in the workplace. Search for videos or photos that can give you clues to the dress code. In general, it’s a good idea to dress one level more formally than what the employees wear on a daily basis.

Here are common office dress codes for reference:

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  • Casual - Employees might be wearing jeans, sneakers, shorts, and shirts without collars. Casual dress means you don’t have to wear a suit or dress, but employees should still be put together and appear tidy.
  • Business casual - Employees may wear nice jeans, slacks, tucked-in polos, blouses, skirts, and comfortable but professional shoes.
  • Business professional - Suits are standard, including skirt suits or pant suits for women. Ties are typically required for men, and jackets may be required as well. Dress shoes are generally worn with this dress code.

So, if you determine that the employees typically dress casually at work, you should consider dressing business casual for your interview. If they wear business casual, wear a business professional outfit. Obviously, if the employees dress business professional, you can’t get much more formal than that, so just wear your best business professional outfit.

Don’t go overboard

Conversely, don’t go overboard with your interview attire in terms of formality. For example, if you are interviewing for a position at a company that has a very casual dress code (or no dress code at all), it may be inappropriate to show up in a business professional outfit. Again, research the vibe of the company before choosing your interview outfit.

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Stick to a simple outfit

You want the focus of the interview to be your skills and qualifications rather than your outfit, so stick to a simple outfit in the appropriate dress code. Avoid very bright colours, loud patterns, and intense scents from perfume or cologne. Keep your hairstyle, make-up, and accessories tasteful and classy. There will be plenty of time to showcase your personality and style once you get hired, but you don’t want your appearance to distract from your interview question answers.

Try on your outfit in advance

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Finally, be sure to try on your entire interview outfit a couple of days before your interview. Make sure that everything fits properly and that there are no buttons missing, creases, stains, etc. This gives you time to line up a backup outfit in case you discover a problem with your original plan.

If you aren’t sure about your outfit, ask a trusted friend or family member for input when you try it on.

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