Let’s face it, appropriate clothing for a job interview can be a very broad term these days. Of course, fashion and style are constantly changing in everyday life. However, does this change also apply to your appearance when having a job interview with your future employer?
However, before you can choose your appropriate outfit, you must first find out what kind of company you are talking to. If you’re applying to a more conservative, traditional company, it’s a good idea to grab the elegant business look. But if it’ s a young, upcoming start-up, you can do well with a simple casual look.
But the choice of the optimal clothing is usually more difficult than you originally think. Whether business – casual, tie – no tie, dress – suit or even the choice of the right shoes, we have the most important tips and suggestions for the optimal interview clothes.
Formal or more casual outfit?
The fact is, you can’t put an outfit together until you figure out the company’s dress code. The best thing to do is to check your potential employer’s website and social media pages in advance. This will allow you to get a rough idea of the company and adjust your choice of outfit accordingly. If despite intensive research, you still can’t figure out which clothing style would be most appropriate, you still have the opportunity to contact the company and ask directly.
But not only the appearance of the company can be relevant at this point. Also, the branch in which the company is active may help tell you which clothing style might be appropriate. For example, if you are applying to a law firm or management consultancy, a more formal, traditional dress style might be a good option.
The formal version
If your choice, based on your research, has fallen on the traditional clothing style, you will find the most important tips and advice for choosing your outfit here.
If possible, men should place their bets on a proven suit with a matching tie. This should be plain and elegant. With discreet colours like black, white or blue you will always be on the safe side. Ensure that the suit also fits well and it is usually worth splashing out a bit more cash and not necessarily buy the cheapest suit in the store. A decent suit can accompany you on your career path for years or even decades.
Women usually have more freedom in choosing their outfits. But even here it is important to keep the outfit neat and elegant. Keep a low profile with fancy outfits. Whether you choose a suit or a dress is entirely up to you. If your choice falls on a dress, please keep in mind that it should be simple and not too short. If you are unsure, always remember: too long is much better than too short!
No-Go’s of a formal outfit
If you make sure that your outfit is simple, elegant and above all neat, you definitely should leave a professional impression at the interview. But a mistake could easily be made, here we have listed the most relevant no-gos:
- No hoodie sweaters, T-shirts or the like
- No tank tops or blouse with spaghetti strap
- No jeans, sweatpants or shorts
- No very short dress
- No dirty shoes
- Watch out for exposed underwear
Photo by YoungCapital
A more casual look?
A formal style is not appropriate in every company. If, for example, it is a young modern company or a start-up, a formal outfit can be quickly seen as overdressed. In this case, a casual look helps out.
Per example, Jeans can be optimally combined with a shirt or blouse, but also with a blazer and T-shirt. All kinds of clothes can be combined here, but you should make sure that you leave a professional and neat impression despite your casual style.
The following clothes can easily be worn in a start-up atmosphere for your interview:
- Narrow, waisted but also everyday jeans
- Button-down shirts and cotton blouses
- Nice T-Shirts (can also be combined with a Blazer)
- Sneakers and ballerinas
Tip: If you are not sure which look is most appropriate, take a look at the workplace and look at the employees’ outfits. It is often a good idea to choose an outfit for the interview a little more smartly than their work clothes. This will ensure that you don’t overshoot the mark or are too casual.
The golden middle between a “Formal” and “Casual” outfit
If you are unsure whether a formal or casual dress style is appropriate for the job interview, you can also go for the business casual look. This will help you avoid wearing too casual and still allow you to leave your suit hanging in the wardrobe.
Business Casual for Women
As a woman, you can rely on simple blouses with a casual jacket or blazer. An elegant sweater can also be a good choice. It’s important not to use colours that are too unusual and keep your fingers off oversized clothes that look too casual. Also, skirts and dresses may be suitable here. Make sure that your shoes are plain and closed and try to avoid wearing sandals or similar. Further options would be for example:
- Khaki, Cord or Cotton Trousers
- Conservative skirts (not too short)
- Sweaters, Knitted Shirts, Polos and Cardigans
- Professional dresses
Business Casual for Men
As a man, you should put your trust in fancy shirts and chinos. Also, an elegant pair of closed shoes with dark socks (but no sports socks) should always complete the outfit. Polos and bright jeans would not be the ideal choice in this case, as they are more casual. The following clothes would be a good choice for the business casual look for men:
- Khaki or cotton trousers
- Dark Jeans
- Long cotton shirts
- Fancy sweaters
- Black or brown leather shoes
- Black or brown leather belt
- Any ties
The final touch
Whether you have decided for a formal or a more relaxed style, with a few little things you can put your outfit in the right light.
Again, follow the motto of less is more. Just don’t put on too thick and don’t overdo it. Keep your make-up discreet and always try to be natural.
If you decide to go for a more trendy or a traditional hairstyle, make sure you have a good balance between outfit and makeup. The final look should be professional and tidy.
A combination of a discrete necklace with small earrings is ideal for this. A wristwatch can also always be helpful in order not to lose the feeling of time during the conversation. Avoid wearing a Smartwatch if possible, as it may interfere with the interview.
The most important thing is to get to know the company in advance. This will allow you to understand the corporate culture and adapt your clothing style accordingly.
If you follow all our advice, nothing will prevent you from presenting yourself professionally and neatly. However, this is no guarantee that the interview will be successful.
After all, even for the job interview itself, lots of advice is waiting to help. The application process, starting with the letter of application and going all the way to salary negotiations, can be time-consuming and exhausting, but at least nothing stands in the way of the ideal outfit for the job interview!
A guest post by YoungCapital