3 Things You Don’t Want to Wear to an Interview

A job interview is not the time for a fashion faux pas

If you have a job interview coming up, that’s terrific news. Getting an interview means that the employer is interested in learning more about you. It’s your chance to prove to them why you are the best candidate for the job.

You will need to do a lot to get ready for your big day. You will need to research the employer, study the job description, and do a mock interview with your Career Services department. You might also want to talk with the people in your career network, and find out what you can about the employer. You should also map out the route to the interview to ensure that you are not late.

In addition to all of these tasks, you will need to plan what you are going to wear. Your interview outfit will not make or break the interview, but it’s still important to take the time to put together appropriate attire, from head to toe. Here’s a short list of what NOT to wear.

Mistake #1: Wearing blue jeans or yoga pants!

Dressing too casually for a job interview sends a signal to the employer that you are not serious about the job or your career. When in doubt, always err on the side of dressing too formally.

  • You can’t go wrong with a business suit. While many employers are getting more informal, wearing a business suit to a job interview is still a good idea. Make sure it fits well. It should be a dark, understated color.
  • A nice blouse with dress pants is okay if you cannot afford a business suit.
  • Dress modestly. You don’t want your blouse or your skirt to be too revealing. This is a job interview, not a fashion show.
  • Make sure your shoes are polished and in good condition.

Mistake #2: Overdoing the makeup or accessories

Not everyone has the same taste in accessories. Just because you like your tongue ring doesn’t mean the hiring manager will like it. On your interview day, play it safe with your jewelry, makeup, and fingernails.

  • Wear understated jewelry. A simple necklace or a single ring is enough.
  • Keep your fingernails relatively short, and if you paint your nails, choose a subtle color.
  • Avoid wearing nose rings, eyebrow rings, and tongue rings to interviews. They can be distracting to the interviewer.
  • Do not wear perfume to the interview. You never know who might be allergic to it.
  • Keep your makeup simple and light.
  • If you color your hair, keep the color somewhat natural looking, so as not to distract the interviewer.
  • If you have body piercings and tattoos, try to cover them during the interview if possible. While body art is becoming more acceptable in the workplace, you may have an interviewer who doesn’t see it the same way.

Mistake #3. Bringing the wrong bag

Some of us love our overstuffed purses. Others like large shoulder bags. And others, especially students just finishing school, might carry backpacks. All of these should be left behind.  You don’t want to bring large bags with you. They may make you look disorganized and disheveled.

  • Bring a portfolio or notebook with you, along with hard copies of your resume, your list of references, and a pen. That’s all you need!
  • If you need to bring a purse, bring a small one that goes well with your interview outfit.
  • Keep yourself cell phone out of sight and turned off during the entire interview.

We hope these tips have guided you on what to wear and what not to wear to a job interview. For more advice on preparing for an interview, see our companion article What Not to Do on Your Next Job Interview.

These interview tips are part of the Branford Hall Career Institute’s weekly blog. Branford Hall is the proud provider of career training programs for Medical Assistants, Massage Therapists, Culinary Arts professionals, and more.  Check us out online!