What Not to Wear to a Job Interview.
Being invited to a job interview is your first chance to get your foot in the door – metaphorically speaking. You’d like to think that you’d have more than just your foot in the door for an interview. However, if that shoe is wearing the wrong kind of footwear, you’ll immediately damage your chances of nailing the interview and securing the position.
However, it’s not just your footwear that you need to focus on. The clothing you wear to an interview says a lot about what kind of a person you are. And, considering a job interview is all about how well you’ll fit into a job role, you want to give off a good impression. Of course, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but put yourself into the (professional and presumably polished) shoes of your interviewer. If that book rolls into your office in cheap trainers, skinny jeans, and a fishnet vest, it’s hard not to wonder how well they’ll fit into a banking role.
Before we start, it’s important to note that this list should be treated as a guide, rather than take it for gospel. For example, if you’re interviewing for a sporting role, you may be required to wear trainers and shorts for a practical assessment. When being offered a chance to attend a job interview, you can always ask what dress code is required. It’s better to ask and be right, then to guess and be wrong.
So, without further ado, let’s break down the different areas of what not to wear to a job interview.
The Shoe Department.
Shoes can make or break an outfit, so it’s important to consider what you’re going to wear on your feet. As happy as you might be with your brand-new £400 trainers, they’re not going to be appropriate for most interviews. Equally, they’re going to look strange when combined with a suit, but the point still stands.
Sandals and high heels are also no-go zones. Don’t turn an interview into a catwalk, and don’t turn your smart clothing into a fashion statement.
Smart, comfortable shoes are always your best bet. If they have a heel, make sure it’s comfortable and practical. Loafers are a favourite for many business experts, but as long as they’re smart and go with the rest of your outfit, they’ll do the job.
As a standard rule, shorts are not acceptable for a job interview (unless otherwise stated). So, as proud of your calves as you may be, it’s best to avoid shorts.
If you’re wearing a skirt or dress for an interview, you’ll want to choose it carefully, as different businesses have different cultures and practices when it comes to the length of these. If you have no other options, ensure it ends no higher than the knee. However, if you have time, we suggest investing in some smart trousers or a longer dress/skirt as an alternative.
When it comes to smart trousers, you’ll want to ensure they’re clean, ironed, and, most importantly, they fit you. Because of this, we recommend you try them on a few days before your interview to ensure they still fit. After all, there’s nothing worse than turning up to an interview in what looks like ¾ length suit trousers, or so big they could belong to your dad.
Jeans are generally not a good idea, either. However, this can vary depending on where and who your interview is with. If you’re unsure, ask whoever offers you the opportunity to interview for the role. However, even if jeans are acceptable, don’t wear skinny or ripped jeans. You can thank us later.
The upper body wear is where most people struggle to choose what is best for them. From polos to shirts, jumpers to dresses, there are so many options, so what should you wear?
Our advice is to go for a smart, button-up shirt, that is cleaned and ironed a few days before your interview. Adding a tie to this outfit can really bring your whole look together, so, ensure your tie is also cleaned and ironed, too. Generally, it doesn’t matter what colour tie you wear in conjunction with your shirt. However, if you’re wearing something like a red shirt, we advise you don’t wear a green tie. Stick to smart and plain. If there is a design on your tie, make sure it’s not too outlandish. Everybody loves the ties that look like fish, but they’re not so appropriate for an interview.
Also, no bow ties.
If you don’t have a tie, or choose not to wear one, remember to button up your shirt an appropriate amount. As cool as you may think you look, the Tony Montana look with several of the top buttons undone won’t go down too well with your potential new employer. A smart blouse is also a good choice to wear, providing that, once again, it’s not too wacky or brightly coloured.
Hair and Beard.
When it comes to how to wear your hair and/or beard for your interview, there’s one basic rule to go by – sensible and practical.
Of course, before your interview, you may wear your hair and/or beard in a particularly unique or stylish way, and that’s fine. However, when it comes to your job interview, you’ll want to provide as little as you can in the way of distractions as possible. For example, you may have half of your hair dyed pink and the other a dark green, which, of course, you’ll struggle to change if you’re offered a job interview on short notice. So, tie it back into either a ponytail or a bun, making it smart and presentable. This way, your hair will provide minimum distractions, allowing your abilities, skills, and suitability for the role to shine.
With regards to a beard, it’s always worth giving it a comb and a style before the interview. If you’re sporting short hair, a quick style without excessive gel or styling mousse will give you a professional look, once again without providing too many distractions.
There are no set rules on what you should or shouldn’t wear to an interview in terms of accessories. However, once again, we’ll reiterate what we’ve said before – smart and practical.
A watch is perfectly acceptable, providing it’s not too outlandish or ‘blingy’, and of course, wedding rings are fine, too. However, we’d recommend reducing everything else to a bare minimum, leaving any extra rings or wristbands at home.
The same rule applies to necklaces. The smaller, plainer, and simpler, the better. If you chose to wear a Flavor Flav style clock around your neck, expect to be unsuccessful at your next interview.
Now you’ve been given the lowdown, it’s time to go out there and ace your interview! For more top tips on how to succeed in your interview, click here. Or, to start applying, head over to our jobs page.
Thanks for reading, and good luck at your next interview!