How to dress for your next job interview

When you follow these outfit guidelines, you'll feel confident with your appearance and be ready to tackle the interview.

The night before your big job interview, you may find yourself scrambling to put together a great outfit. Many candidates are so focused on perfecting their resumes and practicing interview answers that they leave their clothing choices to the last minute. However, studies show that you have just seconds to make a positive first impression on interviewers, so a professional appearance is key.

Here are some basic rules to follow when you're dressing for an important interview.

"Remember that showing less is more."

Attire guidelines for women
For women, one of the most essential considerations when choosing an interview outfit is whether the clothing is conservative. You never want to pick a short or tight skirt, a low-cut blouse or heels that are too high. When in doubt, remember that less is more.

"Dressing conservatively means you care on a couple of different dimensions," Frank Bernieri, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, explained to Forbes magazine. "One, you're making an effort; two, you're making an effort not to offend; three, you're polite and respectful."

For an entry-level professional interview, you'll likely do well with a knee-length skirt, polished blouse and tailored blazer. However, if you're not sure about the company's culture, don't be afraid to ask your contact about appropriate attire. More traditional industries like finance may require business professional dress, which means you'll need a conservative suit.

When it comes to accessories, choose minimalist jewelry - no bold statement pieces. If you want to wear heels, make sure you're comfortable walking in them in case you're offered a tour of the facilities. Carry a professional bag in a neutral color, preferably one that's big enough to stash extra copies of your resume and portfolio in. If you're wearing a skirt or dress, pantyhose is a must. Just make sure there aren't any rips or runs.

The right outfit will help you stand out from the pack.

Men's guide to interview outfits
Males want to follow similar guidelines when it comes to interview attire. Err on the side of conservative when picking out your clothes. Pressed slacks, a simple button-down shirt and a plain tie are generally a good way to go. For more formal businesses, top off this ensemble with a tailored jacket. Make sure that all of your clothes are wrinkle- and stain-free to make the best impression possible.

As for accessories, you'll want to opt for polished shoes, a leather briefcase or professional portfolio binder and a simple belt.

What not to wear
It's just as important to understand what you should never wear to interviews. Here's a list of clothing items that should never see the inside of an interview room:

  • Ill-fitting clothing, whether too loose or tight
  • Jeans
  • Sneakers or tennis shoes
  • T-shirts
  • Hats
  • Sandals
  • Branded clothing
  • Busy and distracting prints
  • Platform heels or stilettos
  • Overly patterned or joke ties
  • Any clothing you would wear to a club
  • Distracting jewelry or accessories
  • Backpacks
  • Sunglasses
  • Headphones
  • Fishnets or patterned hosiery
  • Heavy makeup
  • Excessive scents
  • Scuffed or visibly old shoes
  • Mismatched shoes and belts
  • Stained clothing
  • Anything you're uncomfortable wearing.

When you follow these guidelines, you'll feel confident with your appearance and be ready to tackle the interview.

This content brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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