Dress To Impress For An Interview

Dress To Impress For An Interview

It’s true what they say ‘first impressions count’.  When it comes to a job interview, being well presented and dressed appropriately is critical.

The way you dress and style yourself can make a huge difference to the overall interview, no matter what job or role you are being recruited for.  Whether you are meeting a recruitment consultant about a position, or have an interview with an employer directly, you will get to meet the receptionist, perhaps a secretary or other colleagues walking around before the interviewer, and all of them will have an impression of you from what you wear.  When you get to meet the interviewer themselves, that very first impression is again going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing, even before you have shaken hands and said hello.


So, what are the most appropriate clothes to wear for an interview?  My advice is ‘dress to impress’ without going over the top, making sure the clothes feel comfortable, and remember to try them on the night before the interview.  Someone who turns up in untidy casual clothes is not going to make the right impression in my view.  You should always go for a smart and professional look, so a business suit works best.


Interestingly, a survey conducted earlier this year by theladders.co.uk found 37% of businesses questioned decided against employing someone based on what the candidate was wearing.  In the same survey, 33% of employers considered whether the candidate’s style suited their business at all.  In terms of colours, Orange, Red and Pink seem to be the ones to avoid according to the survey, and the sight of stains or dirty marks left a poor impression for 59% of responders.  All in all, what you wear and how you dress for an interview can have a major impact on the decision making process, so it is something you should pay attention to, in addition to all the other tips we offer you here at Approachthemarket.com


Below are some ideas I have given to people previously when they have asked me the question – what should I wear to the interview?


Interview Dress Code for Men


  • Suit Jacket & Trousers (ideally a black, dark grey or dark navy colour)
  • Plain white long sleeved shirt with cufflinks
  • Plain coloured tie to complement the suit (no stripes, dots, emblems, animals or multi-colours; and avoid bow ties)
  • Plain dark socks
  • Black shoes (that have been polished and cleaned)
  • Neat and smartly cut hairstyle
  • Clean shaven or a trimmed moustache / beard (not straggly)


Interview Dress Code for Women


  • Business Suit (ideally a plain and neutral colour, without big shoulder pads)
  • Skirt at knee length or below
  • A plain long-sleeved collared blouse
  • Coordinated and neutral colour shoes (no stilettos)
  • Neat and professional hairstyle
  • Limited and colour coordinated jewellery (no dangling earrings or bangles)
  • Tights as opposed to bare legs
  • Minimal make-up (not over the top or too bright / dark) and conservative nail polish
  • Scent of perfume
  • Clean and smart nails


This is not a definitive list by any means, but it will hopefully give you a good first guide to what employer expectations are.  Also, for those of you with visible tattoos and body piercing, it is best to try and cover the tattoos up and remove the body jewellery for the interview.  In summary, you should not be turned down for a job based on what you wear at an interview, but it can really damage your chances of success if it is deemed inappropriate by the interviewer or the company in general.


Best Wishes

Leslie Fearn


Leslie has over 15 years Recruitment experience helping blue-chip corporates to SME businesses recruit for their Finance teams.  As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy, a Specialist HR and Finance Recruiter across the Thames Valley and London, he is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today.  Follow his helpful tweets on Twitter: @McGinnisLoy
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