What Not to Wear to a Job Interview

First impressions mean everything. That goes double for job interviews; many hiring managers will know who won't get the job moments after shaking hands, and may even have bumped candidates to the top of the line subconsciously. You have to make sure that you're meeting the standards of the hiring manager that you're working with. (See also: Five Interview Lessons Learned From Horrible Interviews)

Of course, there's no one outfit that's guaranteed to land you a job. There are major differences in expectations across industries, not to mention that society expects men and women to wear different clothing. But there are certain things that can get you the boot immediately — things that you should avoid no matter what. Between knowing what not to wear and some intensive research into what's considered standard for the industry you're applying to and the level of the position you're shooting for, you can put together the right visual for your job interview.

Stained or Dirty Clothes

It can seem like a no-brainer that you should wear something clean, but I've seen plenty of interviewees who clearly had one outfit just for job interviews and who didn't dry clean their clothing between stressful meetings.

Stained clothing is also out. Even in startup culture, where job applicants are expected to dress down and a suit can lead to a lost opportunity, your clothing should be neat, clean, in good condition, and otherwise of a decent quality.

Too Much Perfume, Cologne, or Lotion

With the number of people out there with sensitivities to strong scents, why even take the risk of wearing any? Keep any strong-smelling body products to a minimum.

Anything Too Revealing

Even if you've got the hottest body in town, it's best to keep it covered up during your job interview. There are a very few exceptions to this rule, but you're probably able to figure out what they are for yourself.

Outfits that make it very clear what sort of underwear you've chosen should be avoided, whether we're talking about revealing holes or clothing that's just cut that way originally. I wouldn't consider myself a prude, but such an outfit telegraphs to a hiring manager that you don't have the level of judgment to tell the difference between a job interview and some fun with your friends.

Have you ever worn the wrong thing to a job interview? Did it impact your chances?

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Guest's picture

It never fails to amaze me how common sense this stuff is yet there are actually people out there who are surprised by this article and actually need it.

Guest's picture

Very useful advice Thursday, It's important to have a best first impression because we can not get it in the second time.