How to Dress Your Best for a Job Interview (For Women)
I hope everyone enjoyed my article which was more of an exaggerated version of what not to wear to an interview. Since I often find myself answering questions regarding interview attire for women, I want to emphasize that it’s just as important to think about what not to wear as it is in determining what to wear to a job interview. It is critical to make a great first impression when trying to prove that you’re an ideal candidate for the position. Everyone has their own interpretation on what is acceptable to wear, but here are my top 6 tips that I believe you can’t go wrong with.
1. If you don’t already own a two piece suit, buy one! Don’t think of it as buying a suit for this specific interview, but as an investment. There will be countless times in your professional career that a suit will be required. I personally believe this is the only thing you should wear to an interview. You could wear an appropriate length skirt and matching jacket or a jacket and matching slacks. If you choose to wear slacks they should be tailored and creased. If you decide to wear a skirt, the skirt should cover your thighs when you sit and ends at the knee when you stand. Another component to consider when choosing the right outfit is making sure it fits correctly so you are not constantly adjusting yourself throughout the interview.
2. A conservative top is the way to go. Under your suit jacket, you should wear a professionally fitted blouse. I suggest a quality sleeveless shell, button-up or a knit top. Your blouse should either be plain or have a subtle print.
3. Just because neon is in style this season doesn’t mean it should be part of your interview attire. When it comes to choosing the color of your suit or shirt, I suggest sticking with basic colors. Black, navy, brown, or dark grey for suits are safe choices. A recent Career Builder survey disclosed that orange was the worst color to wear amongst employers, however, I’d have to argue that it’s important to know the company you are interviewing with. For instance, at Helios HR we tend to favor orange the most because it’s reflective of our brand. With that being said, do your homework and be intentional about how the color you wear will be perceived.
4. When it comes to accessories, less is best! My rule of thumb: wearing no jewelry is better than bright, flashy costume pieces. Stick to studs, small hoops, pearls or a classic pendant necklace. You want you’re your employer to focus on you and not your distracting jewels. Coco Chanel said it best, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”
5. Shoes and Pantyhose that is the question: Another question that many women ask me is if they need to wear pantyhose when wearing a skirt. My short answer is yes. Once hired, you may discover that pantyhose isn’t the norm at your employer’s office. Also, make sure that your heels aren't too high so that you can walk into your interview with confidence.
6. Last but not least, hair and makeup. A clean and neat hair style is the way to go. The same goes for makeup - keep it simple. You can’t go wrong with neutral make-up palettes and nail polish. I highly recommend checking out this interview with LinkedIn career expert, Nicole Williams on hair and make-up guidelines before your big day.
If you haven’t already noticed, I always prefer to be safe by dressing conservative when it comes to choosing the perfect outfit for your interview. The right interview outfit can help you stand apart from other applicants. I hope you found this article to be useful and would love to hear some of your tried and true interview outfits. Best of luck!