What Not to Wear When Attending a Job Interview


“I’m just out of school and am getting ready to go on my first  job interview. I’m struggling with what to wear.” — Kellen from Portland, OR


When you interview for a new job, you want to be sure to leave a good impression and make sure the recruiter will remember you.  In talking with human resources professionals, I have heard many stories about some very memorable interview outfits, which stood out in all the WRONG ways!

Here are some tips on how to avoid being lumped into the category of “The Worst Interview Outfits Ever”!

Avoid ripped or dirty clothes. Ripped, faded, and otherwise well-worn in jeans may be in fashion, but they are the wrong thing to wear to an interview.  Many company dress policies forbid employees from wearing this kind of clothing, and showing up to the interview looking anything less than neat and polished will almost certainly exclude you from getting the position.

Keep the flip-flops at home. Even shoes matter in interviews.  Wearing flip-flops gives out the impression of a lazy day at the beach, and you do not want your potential boss to associate you with laziness.

Watch out for overly revealing clothes. The way you dress reflects the way a potential employer thinks you will act, and you do not want to chance being seen as a “bad fit.”  A human resources manager I talked to remembered one woman who came to an interview in a tight, low-cut top, a mini-skirt and very high heels. The woman had a hard time sitting down in her chair without something falling out, which made the interviewer very uncomfortable. He cut the interview as short as possible, and sent the woman on her way.

So, how should you dress for an interview?

A good guideline to follow is to find out about the dress code for the position ahead of time, and dress a little bit nicer than that.  If you are applying for a casual dress position, wear dress pants or khakis and a button down shirt or nice blouse.  Even if you would be able to wear jeans to work, don’t wear them to the interview!  If you need some new interview clothes, be sure to check your local Goodwill retail store for some great bargains.