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How to Dress for an Interview

General Guidelines:

In most business and technical settings, appropriate attire is conservative and traditional. This is especially true during the interview process.

Each company will have its own guidelines, so it is important to know your future or potential employer before you meet them. How liberal or conservative is the dress code? When in doubt, it is better to be too conservative than to be too flashy. 

For MEN

  • A two-piece suit is appropriate in most instances.
  • Solid colors and tighter-woven fabrics are safer than bold prints or patterns.
  • Bright ties bring focus to the face, but a simple pattern is best for an interview.
  • Wear polished shoes with dress socks high enough so no skin is visible when you sit down and cross your legs.
  • Do not wear white socks.

for WOMEN

  • A suit with a knee-length skirt and a tailored blouse is most appropriate.
  • Although even the most conservative organizations allow more feminine looks these days, accessories should be kept simple.
  • Basic pumps, along with modest jewelry and makeup help to present a professional look.
  • Pants are more acceptable now, but are not recommended for interviews.

Staying Within a Budget

As a student, it can be difficult to stray far from your normal wardrobe without feeling like you need to spend a lot of money. For interviewing, you should try to have one good "interview outfit" that you can wear to multiple interviews. For men and women, wearing the same suit and changing only the dress shirt and tie (or the blouse for women) creates a whole new outfit. Many local retailers will offer student discounts, and there are stores that sell gently used work clothes specifically to help people who need nice clothes within a budget. 

Final Touches

  • Make sure your hair is neatly trimmed
  • Use makeup conservatively
  • No runs in stockings
  • Shoes polished (some suggest wearing your sneakers on the way to an interview and changing before you enter the interview site)
  • Women should avoid excessive jewelry, and men should refrain from wearing earrings
  • No visible body piercing or tattoos
  • No missing buttons, crooked ties, or lint
  • No heavy perfume or aftershave
  • Do not chew gum during the interview