What To Wear To An Interview (+ Infographic)

By Mike Simpson

Give yourself a pat on the back.  After all…

You did it!

Only a week ago you got that call that you had a job interview coming, and a long, stressful preparation lay ahead of you.

“What do I need to study?  What questions am I going to be asked?  And what the heck is a behavioral interview question?“, are just some of the questions you probably asked yourself.

But guess what?  You figured it out, maybe even with a little help from The Interview Guys!

OK, so no what?

Well, you’re not quite at the finish line yet because you’ve yet to actually have your interview, which means you’ve yet to make your first impression.

And what’s (unfortunately) the biggest part of a first impression?  Well the way you look, naturally.

Making A First Impression

This world is in many ways a wonderful place.  Unfortunately, one thing that we haven’t been able to fully grasp as a species is that there is almost always more than meets the eye regarding someone’s appearance, and to take the cliche one step further, one shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”

In other words, when it comes to your job interview, it DOES matter how you dress and how you present yourself because your first impression is going to go a long way in determining how well you fit in with the company.

Why bring this up?

Well, because I don’t want you to waste any time or brain power banging your hands on the table or shouting from the hilltops about how unfair, insensitive or inappropriate this is.

It just IS THE WAY IT IS unfortunately.

So now that we can both agree on that, the most important question is “What do we do about it?”

Make The Hiring Manager “See” You In The Position

This is your ultimate goal, and should define how you present yourself in the interview.

You want the hiring manager to subconsciously (or hopefully consciously) visualize you as a part of the team already, and your appearance is the first thing they will analyze when making this consideration.

So think about this…

If you’re applying for a job where you’re expected to be a door-to-door Bible salesman, it might not be in your best interest to show up to your interview dressed like a dominatrix.

Now, this is an extreme example, but you get the picture.

You want to try and get a feel for the work environment and dress accordingly.  Here are some categories of dress along with their corresponding industries:

  • Conservative: Corporations, financial institutions, accounting firms, law offices.
  • Business Casual: Sales, government agencies, education, retail, small companies, information tech, engineering, real estate.
  • Casual: Construction. repair, landscaping, plumbing and any other job where you may get dirty (obviously).
  • Creative/Fashionable: Fashion, entertainment, graphic design, video game design, music.

What you need to do is figure out which industry that you are interviewing in and the culture of the company (or even department/team) that you’ll be working in and try to match up as best as possible.

Here’s a great chart from Business Insider that can give you a little hint as to how to dress for your interview:


(Now obviously these are guidelines. I don’t think you need to break your back trying to “conform” to these guidelines. These are just to help you get an idea…)

How To Find Out The “Dress Culture” Of Your Company

Believe it or not, this is a pretty easy thing to do.

The easiest way to find out how people dress at a certain company is to ask questions.

Do you have any contacts within the company?  If so, ask them!  What do people around the office wear everyday?  What did they wear for their interview?

It shouldn’t be too hard for you to get a feel for what an industry standard is for your industry and role.  Look it up online, there’s a lot of info out there.

Try websites like Indeed.com.  They have great forums where you can post questions.  This is a great resource to find all kinds of information regarding both dress code and anything else relating to your company.


1. Head over to the Indeed Forum

2. Search for your company’s culture or work attire (Or anything else you want to know about the company!). For example:

3. Check out the result I got:


You can get a good feel for a company's culture (including dress) by also visiting their website.  Often they will have videos (maybe even their own YouTube Channel) that will show videos of "life at work". They often interview employees from various departments, one of which may be the one you are interviewing for.  To take it a step further, take a look at their Facebook and LinkedIn pages because they often post what I like to call "culture clues" there.

Avoid These Common Job Interview Attire Mistakes

If interviewing for positions outside the entertainment/bar environment then be careful not to make these mistakes:

  • Wearing clothing that fits improperly. Don't look like a kid playing dress up in mommy or daddy's clothes!
  • Wearing clothing that is too revealing.  It's great to "show off what you got", but there is a time and a place for this and the interview room is NOT the place.  Error on the side of being overly conservative if anything!
  • Don't be too flashy!  You want to be remembered for your personality and your ability to answer the questions with aplomb and not because of your bright green suit!
  • Avoid outfits with large logos or odd or inappropriate messages.
  • Stay away from too much jewelry.  Too many chains, necklaces or bangles can cause unnecessary noise (clanging together) or a distraction
  • Resist the urge to make large statements with your grooming choices.  Again, know your audience!  Dying your hair pink, painting your nails bright green and putting thirteen new facial piercings in is completely within your right, but it may not make you the most attractive candidate for the position.
  • A Skype Interview or Video Interview requires the same level of thought for your attire!

No one is asking you to completely "sell out" and to be something other than yourself.  But here's the deal.  There is a job.  And you want it

How badly?  

If your level of desire for the job is not enough for you to make some minor changes to your appearance, than perhaps you should consider looking in an industry or for a position that has more relaxed standards.  As I said before, nobody loves the way the system is set up now.  But it's the way it's set up.  So you have to make the decision for yourself if it is all worth it for you.

Pulling It All Together

At the end of the day, you want to become the hiring manager's Perfect Candidate, and the first impression you give will start you headed in that direction.

Remember, the most important thing to do is dress like you already have the job you are interviewing for.

You Should share these interview attire tips with your social friends!

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at TheInterviewGuys.com. His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.