Dressing for Interview Success

Dressing for Interview Success

by Vanessa Noble, Client Service Manager, Acclivity Healthcare

When it comes to interviewing, what you wear is equally important as what you have to say. According to industry experts, first impressions are formed within seconds of meeting an interviewee. This means that before you even speak, an opinion of you has been formed. With this being said, it is always better to err on the side of being overdressed than underdressed. You want to portray yourself as a professional and be taken seriously. We have put together a few basic tips to keep in mind when dressing for an interview to ensure you leave a positive lasting impression with the employer. Just remember “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”!


Clothing & Shoes

In almost all cases, men should be prepared to wear a suit to an interview. A suit consists of a matching jacket and pants, dress shirt, tie, coordinating socks and dress shoes.

  • The best option is to choose a dark-colored suit with a clean and pressed light colored shirt.
  • Your suit should be comfortable and fit you properly. You don’t want to feel like you are squeezing into something that is ten years old.
  • Ties should be conservative, not flashy and loud in color.
  • Dress shoes should be clean, shined and in good condition, this includes the laces.

Hair & Accessories

  • Your hair should be clean, neat and styled. If you have facial hair make sure it is well groomed.
  • It is best to stay away from cologne or strong aftershave. Overpowering smells can be distracting
  • Simple and conservative cuff links need to be worn with any suit that does not have buttons.
  • Consider removing any facial piercings and cover visible tattoos with clothing or tattoo cover-up.


Clothing & Shoes

The best rule of thumb for women is to stick with wearing a suit with a skirt or pants. When in doubt, lean more towards the conservative side.

  • An interview suit should be simple in color, tailored and fit comfortably.
  • If you choose to wear a skirt, keep it knee-length. A skirt that is too short can be distracting and long skirts, while modest, are either too casual or too formal.
  • Pants should be clean and pressed. If you do not have an iron, be sure to visit the dry cleaner.
  • The top you wear with your suit should be a conservative blouse. Try to stay away from tops that have bright colors, lace, sheer, and that are low-cut.
  • Shoes should be conservative and have a mid to low heel. They should have a closed back and closed toe and be good condition.

Make-up, Hair & Accessories

The idea is to look polished and professional, not like you are going out for a night on the town.

  • Make-up and nail polish should be understated but flattering. Use neutral tones and avoid bright or unusual colors.
  • Hair should be clean, neat and conservatively styled. If you choose to wear your hair up, pull it back into a low ponytail, or wear a barrette.
  • Keep your jewelry and hair accessories to a minimum. Try to stay away from flashy, noisy and distracting accessories.
  • Consider removing any facial piercings and cover visible tattoos with clothing or tattoo cover-up.
  • If you choose to wear perfume, be selective. Some smells are overpowering and can cause allergic reactions.