The most important rule of dressing for a job interview is to dress for the job you really want, not for the job you are applying for. Whether your interview is with a manager, a human resources worker, or a recruiter, you need to put your best foot forward and make a good impression with a few simple rules.

Discover the most important rules of dressing for an interview, if you want to maximize your chances for getting the job you want.

Go for a Well-Fitted Outfit

A good fit is everything, especially if you work in a competitive field, where looks are very important. If you’ve recently lost or gained weight, either buy a new outfit or get alterations for your best interview look.

A two-piece suit in dark colors, from navy to black, is the best way to dress for a job interview. Pair it with a blouse in a lighter color. The safest best is a skirt suit, but a pantsuit can be just as effective, as long as it’s well-fitted.

Do Your Research

Unless you’re meeting with a head hunter, it’s important to do your research about the dress code and organizational culture of the company you want to be employed by. The well-fitted look still applies, but you might be able to dress down a bit. When you’re not wearing a classic two piece, go for three pieces, a skirt or pants, a blouse and a cardigan or any other casual sweater.

Blazer Outfit Job Interview
photo: Kasia Gorol

Don’t Dress Too Sexy

One of the biggest dangers when you’re wondering how to dress for an interview is the vibe you give off. In most fields, if you look too sexy by wearing a suit that’s too form-fitting, you’ll have a drawback, whether you’re interviewing with a man or a woman. Don’t go for curve-hugging tops or tight skirts and you should be fine.

Outfit Idea For Job Interview
photo: Konstantina Tzagaraki

When in Doubt, Over-Dress

Looking too casual is another way to lose a job interview as soon as you walk in. If you’ve done your research and you’re still not sure, it’s always a good idea to be over-dressed than under-dressed. You only have one shot at a good impression, so make it count. Even if you’re not really dressed appropriately for an interview, the key is to never dress too casual.

Pencil Skirt For Job Interview
photo: Milagros Plaza

Try the Black Pencil Skirt

If you don’t have any skirt suit or pant suit ready, pairing a black pencil skirt with a dressy blouse and a blazer is the way to go. The black pencil skirt is the little black dress of office attire, so you can’t go wrong with it. Just make sure it’s not too short. If you feel like it is a bit on the short side, simply pair it with dark pantyhose to cover your legs.

Shoes for a Job Interview

Stay away from extremes when it comes to shoes that will help you land a job. Don’t go for high heels and don’t settle for flats. Forget about trends and choose a mid heel with closed toes. Unless your job is in fashion, stick to neutrals and dark colors when it comes to the right shoes that will complete your outfit.

Casual Job Interview Outfit
photo: Petra Carlsson

Jewelry for a Job Interview

Whether you’re wearing a skirt suit or going for a smart casual look, keep jewelry minimal. Small earrings are the best choice, and a watch with masculine lines can perfectly complement your look. Avoid multiple bracelets and other extravagant and very expensive jewelry. Leave your engagement ring at home, it’s never a good idea to let your future employer know you have plans to start a family soon.

Wide Leg Pants Job Interview
photo: Nicole Warne

Makeup for a Job Interview

Minimal makeup will complete your professional look. Don’t go for bold lips or heavy eyes when you dress for a job interview. Less is more and that goes double for perfume. Spray it in the air and walk through it, instead of spraying on your skin or clothes.

Nails for a Job Interview

One of the details a manager might not pay attention to but human resources always does is the way your nails look. If they’re too long or in bright colors with slightly chipped polish, you fail at least one part of the test. Unless you’re applying for a job at a nail salon, go for neutrals and keep them at a good length, slightly past your fingertips.

Hair for a Job Interview

Go for the same professional look with your hair. Always wear it away from the face and don’t try any hair experiments before a big job interview. Stay on the safe side, just like with your outfit to increase your chances of getting the job.

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