Job Interview Attire: A Quick Guide

July 24, 2015

As soon as the excitement of landing a job interview fades, a million worries inevitably start to flood your brain. Although you may be confident in your skills and experience, the social aspects of a job interview means there are factors far more complicated than simply listing your abilities and experiences. Some of the things you'll need to get to the next level and to finally land the job become more nuanced and subjective when the process goes face-to-face. One major example? Job interview attire.

The question of what to wear to a job interview can be a tricky one, but if you figure out the perfect outfit, the rewards will be endless. Not only will send the right message to your employers, you'll also (ideally) feel confident and prepared as you walk into what might be one of the most challenging, nerve-racking experiences of your life.

Here are a few tips on how to make sure your job interview attire—and your confidence—are totally on point.

-Consider the industry. A suit isn't always necessary. Though formal attire certainly can't hurt your chances of getting a job, dressing in a manner that reflects the job you're trying to nab can show your employer that you have a nuanced understanding of his or her workplace. Plus, if you're applying to work in a creative industry, a drab corporate look might make you seem like you don’t have any creativity yourself.

-Always look put together. No matter what level of formality you decide is appropriate for you interview, though, never look disheveled. There's a fine line between looking like your outfit is creative or thoughtful and looking like you just don't care how you look. Your interview is your chance to make a first impression, and you probably don't want that impression to be "doesn't own an iron."

-Wear something you feel comfortable in. Making a first impression is a huge part of your outfit selection, but so is feeling confident. Wear something that makes you feel fantastic, whether it's a design of your own creation, an outfit you know makes you look extra professional, or even just your lucky socks. Feeling awkward about your outfit can easily translate into an awkward interview, which could cause your potential employers to think you lack self-esteem.

-Don't drink coffee (or bring an extra shirt). It might sound like a gag from a slapstick movie, but look, it happens. People spill coffee, tea, marinara sauce, you name it on themselves all the time (don't pretend like it hasn't happened to you!). It would be a shame after all the care you took to choose the perfect job interview attire, if it was ruined by a large brown spot all over your front. If you absolutely must get a jolt of caffeine right before you walk in the door (even though that’s probably not a good idea for your nerves) stick with something safer like espresso, or bring an extra shirt.

There’s no hard and fast rule about what to wear to a job interview, especially for most creative jobs. The most important thing is to consider how you will be perceived by a complete stranger you want to hire you. With the above tips, you’ll be able to look and feel the part, so that the only thing you’ll have to worry about is any curve ball questions the interviewer might throw your way (and fortunately, there’s an app for that).

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