Dress to Impress: What to Wear and What NOT to Wear to an Interview

Getting an interview is a huge achievement in itself so you don’t want to ruin in by something as simple as dressing in the wrong way. Now this definitely isn’t about spending a fortune on the best branded outfit; it’s about looking sharp, professional and making the right impression by learning what to wear at an interview.

I have conducted many interviews and can tell you from experience that getting your outfit right really does go along way to making a great first impression. In an interview were you will get an average of 1 hour to convince and employer to hire you above everyone else you only want to have to focus on the answers you give in the interview and let the other stuff take care of itself.

Use the Sector/ Company as a guideline when deciding what to wear at an interview

Generally, most companies will expect to see you wearing professional office attire. However, with the rise of employment in the IT & Tech sector, this is starting to change. Many Tech companies pride themselves on building a culture that is far removed from that of the ‘stuffy office.’ Rarely would you see a suit in there, rather people dressing a lot more casually, colourfully and comfortably.

Don’t be afraid to ask the company what style of dress they require. If a tech company tells you “No suits” then that doesn’t mean your fine to arrive in your PJ’s or sweats! They are using this as a way to get another insight into your personality. Sometimes this can be a little harder that your standard office attire but don’t worry, go for a smart casual look and focus on grooming and hygiene; this is essential no matter what type of interview you are attending. You need to be smart, not scruffy and clean. Simple i know, but you’d be really surprised by how many people slip up on this!

Dressing too fancy won't impress interviewers

Dressing too fancy won’t impress interviewers

For more conservative employers then you will need to think of a suit. Go for well-tailored and well-fitting clothes. This doesn’t mean getting a suit specifically made to your exact measurements, it just means have a suit that fits just right, it isn’t too baggy, too tight, too long or short etc. Not only will this make you look sharp, you will feel it as well and it will boost your confidence as you are walking in.

Really gauge your company – you’ll get a great idea about the company culture and dressing practices, by analysing a company’s website or employee’s LinkedIn profiles. Most websites will have a company ‘About Us’ page that will give you an insight into their values and perhaps contain some pictures of employees.

Do’s and Don’ts of what to wear at an interview?

So, we’ve got the types of outfits figured for specific types of companies, but what are the Do’s and Don’ts of what to wear at an interview? As discussed previously I have conducted tonnes of interviews, worked with a number of HR professionals and got people ready to go and kick ass at an interview. When working with hiring managers and HR professionals I like to see what their particular Do’s & Don’ts are so I can pass this information onto my candidates.

What I have discovered that generally, scruffiness is the biggest turn-off for an interviewer. Now to make this a bit clearer, this includes having crumpled or stained clothing, messy or unkept hair, unsecured fingernails or body odour. Pretty simple to avoid right? Piercings and Tattoo’s didn’t phase the majority of  employers, where this was an issue was in the more conservative financial service sectors.

Interestingly the colour Navy seemed to be what most hiring managers would consider the most professional colour to wear. They didn’t mind Facial hair (so long as it was tidy) and Ties weren’t important for over half of them.


So, the very best tips for deciding what to wear to an interview is to research the company and it’s culture, make sure your clothes are clean and ironed, clean your nails, tidy your hair and wear clothes that fit you well.

Once you’ve got all that down, you’re free to knock their socks of with your experience and answers to their questions!


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