The interview dress code

The nightmare, you have been asked to attend an interview but what do you wear?

It is more and more common that a lot of offices are becoming more and more relaxed in their dress code policies for staff, but that does not help us with interviews. How casual is casual and what does informal really mean? If everyone is wearing jeans in the office, can I wear jeans to the interview?

It is true that what you wear to an interview is important, how you are dressed for the interview will help the interviewer form a judgment on you from first impressions. Some people could even relate the interview dress code to army dress code, get it right and you will camouflage in and make you look like part of the team already.

Do not forget though you could always ring up the HR department of the organisation and ask them what the dress code for the interview is. This is by no way unprofessional and could even help boost the first impression.

But if you do not want to give them a call stick to the below guidelines and you should be fine:

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Conservative Organisations

  • Well fitted business suit
  • Simple tie (nothing comical, it is a serious interview after all)
  • Polished shoes
  • Black socks

Do not forget to have a shave, and if you feel your hair is to long then get it cut. You need to look smart and professional, after all some companies have a serious policy on men’s facial hair unless for religious reasons.

  • Skirt and shirt
  • Trousers and jacket
  • Dress
  • Trouser suit
  • Shoes – nothing to high
  • Tights – nude or black
  • Accessories – avoid anything to chunky or dangly

Try to avoid bright coloured outfits; it will make you stand out, but maybe for the wrong reasons. If you are wearing a skirt make sure that is doesn’t ride up when you sit down. It is also thought that high neckline outfits are the safest bet. It is best to think neat businesswomen, not scruffy student!

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Laidback Organisations

Normally these types of organisations operate an informal dress code in the office, however you should not adopt this. You need to take the formal approach but give it a slight informal make over.

  • Smart trousers, shirt and no tie
  • Smart trousers, shirt, no tie and a think jumper
  • Smart trousers, shirt, no tie and cardigan
  • Smart trousers, shirt and a smart coat
  • Smart polished shoes
  • Black socks

You could add some colour to this outfit, but nothing to bright and offensive. Also you should consider having a shave or trimming your beard. If you think your hair is too long, then give it a cut, if not make sure it is looking smart.

  • Smart dress and tailor jacket
  • Tailored trousers and jacket
  • Skirt and blouse
  • Skirt and non-low cut top
  • Shoes – nothing to high
  • Tights - nude or black

The good thing is that you can have a jacket with anything, take it along and if you do not need it do not use it, it can create the informal look into a formal look in seconds. You could even buy something from a high street shop for your interview, but remember to avoid wearing too much jewellery.

How to play it safe

The rule of thumb is no matter the type of company, size of company or what they say always turn up for a job wearing formal clothes. You can always take a jacket off to create an informal look instantly if needed. We would always say avoid wearing jeans and trainers to an interview!