Girl in a dress sits and waits for her job interview

Dress to Kill it in Your Next Interview

Whether you like it or not, you will be judged by your appearance at every interview. Most people know they need to dress to impress when they’re trying to get a job, but with different dress code standards at different offices, it’s hard to know what’s going to look perfect and what’s going to look way too dressy in comparison to the interviewer sitting across from you. Some may say that you can never be too dressy (unless you wear a ball gown; that’s just awkward), but others say that you appearance gives you credibility if it matches the office atmosphere. A general rule of thumb is to dress up a notch past the office atmosphere, but not too many notches. No matter what though, this breakdown can help you plan and kill it at the interview.

Artsy Sectors or Visually Laid Back Offices

Examples: Art studios, ads or marketing agencies, magazines, fashion groups, some non-profits

These offices are often much more on the casual side of business casual, but you still want to dress it up a little more than you think they employees wear on a day to day basis.

Ladies: In-style, chic blouses with skinny black dress pants is an easy outfit choice. You can never go wrong when you’re rocking a pencil skirt, but pay attention to how fancy the fabric is. Be modest at the interview, and unless you’re interviewing for something fashion related, the interview may not be the time go bold.

Guys: A striped or plaid button-up is the way to go. Tuck it in for the big day, and either wear khakis or some Ryan Gosling-style dress pants (tight trousers worn for the sake of looking hot rather than for business purposes). Keep them on the casual side of dressy, but go for the chic look if you know how to rock it.

Classic Business Sectors

Examples: Law firms, government agencies, and most corporations

These types of interviews are honestly the easiest to dress for: think very business and very modest.

Ladies: Pant suits or skirt suits are often best. Wear comfortable, low heels that don’t make you limp around, and save the colors for another day. As bland as they are, navy blue, black, or gray is your best bet. If you don’t have a suit, you can substitute with a modest silhouette dress.

Guys: Easy. Wear a well-tailored, classic suit, and you’re sure to fit in and look good doing it.

Uniform Jobs

Examples: Skilled-labor jobs, minimum wage jobs, and food service jobs

Even if everyone at the workplace wears a standardized uniform, you still want to make a good impression.

Ladies: Be modest, and go for business casual. Take the same kind of advice for the artsy sectors above.

Guys: Khakis with a solid button-up and a tie is a safe bet. The tie just shows that you care about getting the job.

Last Updated: May 05, 2015