Attire for your Job Interview

What do I wear to the interview?

Dress and Grooming

First impressions always count. Personal appearance and clothing are the top two things that interviewers notice right way. If they don't like how you dressed and groomed, you could very well not get the job.

Dress One or Two Levels Up

Dress one or two levels higher than the job that you're interviewing for. For example, if you were going for a job as a mechanic, you wouldn't go into an interview wearing dirty overalls, even though that is what you would dress in for that kind of work. You would go to the interview and show respect. Most likely wearing something like and open-collar shirt, clean pants, and possibly a jacket.

By dressing a level or two above the standard apparel for the position you're interviewing for, you are showing that you care about the job.

Be Conservative

Interviewers can decide in ten seconds that they don't want you. It will take them longer to decide that they do want you. Chances are good that by dressing on the conservative side, you won't unintentionally disqualify yourself, but trying to demonstrate how cool you are with your exposed lower back tattoos and laid-back outfit could backfire and get you disqualified.


  • Lay out your interview outfit the evening before and check for stains, tears, or missing buttons.
  • Make sure your interview clothing is clean and pressed.
  • Except for women's earrings, avoid body-piercing jewelry.
  • Avoid perfume, cologne, and aftershave.
  • Men should be clean-shaven. A carefully trimmed beard or mustache is also acceptable. Avoid stubble that looks like a few days of growth.
  • If possible, cover your tattoos.
  • Wear clothes that fit.
  • Do not wear flashy jewelry or watches.

Business Suits Are Always Appropriate

Attire for Women:

Two-piece, matched suit

  • Skirt should cover thighs when seated
  • Navy, black, gray, or dark brown

Tailored blouse, shell or knit top
  • Do not show cleavage
  • Avoid gaping at chest

Leather Shoes
  • No stilettos or platforms

Carry only one bag or tote

Avoid perfume

Avoid heavy makeup

Clean, trimmed fingernails

Attire for Men:

Clean shaven face or neatly trimmed beard

Two-piece suit

  • Cleaned and pressed
  • Conservative colors like navy and dark gray

Long-sleeve shirt, even in summer

  • White or light blue solid color

Empty pockets to eliminate bulges

Conservative tie

Belt matching color of shoes

Leather shoes, black or cordovan

  • Polish night before

Shocks matching color of pants

No earrings

Clean, trimmed fingernails


You only get one chance to make a good first impression with a potential employer. The clothes you wear are the first part of that first impression, so dress to impress. A business suit says you mean business, even though it may make you feel overdressed and uncomfortable. It shows that you care about making a good first impression. Thousands of people are eliminated as job candidates every week merely because they were not dressed appropriately for the interview, but a business suit is always appropriate.