What NOT to Wear to an Interview

You have the interview, and now it’s time to nail that first impression by dressing to impress. Here are some suggestions to help you put your best foot forward:

Err on the conservative side

Even if you know that the office where you are headed adheres to casual attire, you should still wear a business suit to the interview. You don’t want to be more casually dressed than the person interviewing you, and that person could be wearing a suit that day.

Ladies, if your suit has a skirt, the skirt should be longer than your fingers when you drop your arms by your side. Your suit also shouldn’t show off any of your assets – and you know what we mean – and your skirt shouldn’t be too tight. Tops that are low-cut should also be avoided. You want them to look you in the eyes, right?

Gentlemen, invest in a suit that fits. It shouldn’t be baggy and the sleeves need to be the correct length (i.e., not covering part of your hands).

Guys, now is not the time for graphic ties

This one is for the guys – leave the graphic ties at home. We don’t care if it’s Opening Day, don’t wear a tie with baseballs all over it to a job interview (unless perhaps you’re interviewing with a baseball team).

We get it, you’re fun and want to show off your personality. Save that for the company picnic . . . after you have the job!

Ladies, tone down your jewelry

Similar to our advice for the men, now is not the time for the ladies to show off their personality by wearing jewelry that distracts the interviewer from making eye contact and focusing on your skills.

Definitely ditch anything that makes noise as you don’t want to jingle or clang every time you nod your head during the interview, and we also advise that you stay away from any jewelry that is particularly showy or flashy.

Your shoes matter

While most of you are savvy enough to not wear flip-flops or tennis shoes to an interview, a cold winter morning might make you think it’s acceptable to wear rain boots or snow shoes. Sorry, but you either need to brave the wet and the cold for the job interview and wear your dress shoes, or perhaps change out of your rain or snow boots when you arrive at the interview building.

In addition – ladies, stick with heels that you can easily walk in (and even if you can walk in six-inch heels, go with a more modest height). And men, please take the time to shine your dress shoes.

No sunglasses

Sunglasses belong in your purse or briefcase. Even if the interview is being conducted outside at a café, sunglasses are not okay. It’s very important to make eye contact during your interview, and you can’t do that behind a set of shades.

Further, as cool as you think you look with your sunglasses on top of your head, we assure you it’s not the right accessory for an interview.

Cover tattoos and any unusual piercings

Yes, getting ready for a job interview means stifling some of the ways in which you express yourself. Do you want your interviewer to be more interested in the symbols on your upper arm tattoo or in reviewing your qualifications?

This isn’t about stripping away your identity. It’s about avoiding distractions.

Cover tattoos to the best of your ability and leave out any piercings beyond one in each ear for the ladies.

A little bit goes a long way

The interviewer shouldn’t be first alerted to your presence by the smell of your perfume or cologne entering the room. If you want to play it safe, skip your daily application. If you insist on wearing a scent – which we do not recommend – keep it very light. Remember, some people are very sensitive to scents, and you don’t want the lasting memory of you to be the scent that is left in their office when the interview is completed.

The goal of any interview is to be remembered . . . but for the right things. You want to be remembered for your poise, for being articulate, for your impressive experience. You do not want to be remembered as the guy who wore the Sponge Bob tie or the woman who had the bird tattoos on the inside of her wrists.

You want to work in the office, not be office gossip.