What should I wear to an interview?
So you scored yourself an interview, congratulations! Next comes the decision of what to wear to a job interview.
If there was ever a time to care about what clothes to put on – it is when you are going to interview for a job you want to land! The clothes you choose to wear and how you present yourself can make all the difference; so, dress appropriately for the occasion using this short guide.
What clothes should you wear to your interview?
Many interviews in Australia can be aced dressing in smart-casual attire. Wear clothing that is professional but not too over the top.
When choosing what to wear to a job interview, typically it’s safest to find something neat and simple. After all, you want to showcase yourself, not the clothes you’re wearing!
Top: Blouse, Button Up Shirt, Collared Shirt or Polo Shirt.
Pants: Tailored or Chinos.
Skirt: Business skirt, nothing too casual.
Ensure that your items of clothing are ironed. You don’t want to show up to your interview with a crinkled shirt. It makes you like untidy and that you don’t care how you look.
If you can, try to find team pictures on the website or social media pages of the company you’re applying for to try and find hints.
Some examples of clothes to wear to your interview include:
- A basic suit ensemble with a jacket, matching slacks, and a plain or patterned shirt.
- A plain-coloured or basic-patterned sweater with a button-up shirt underneath.
- A blouse and simple dress pants
- A statement dress
Short Skirts: If you wear a skirt, do not wear it too short. It needs to be no shorter than just above the knee.
Plunging/Low Neckline Shirts: Ensure that it a more conservative top.
Activewear: Do not wear tights for an interview. Keep them for the gym.
Jeans: Too casual for an interview.
Once you have what to wear to a job interview, it’s time to consider the other ways you will present yourself. One of the most important features of how you present yourself, is your hair and how you choose to style or maintain it.
In short, you should ensure that your hair is clean, brushed and styled presentable. If you have long hair ensure you have it styled in a way that you would wear it every day, not hanging it all over your face. A classic ponytail or bun is a popular choice for interviews.
If you have facial hair, make sure it’s trimmed and styled to be neat and presentable.
In a professional setting, makeup typically aims to enhance one’s natural features without being overly distracting or dramatic. In most fields, a subtle and natural look is considered appropriate for professional settings, such as interviews.
However, in industries such as beauty and entertainment, a wider range of makeup styles may be considered professional, as they can be required to showcase talents in application or understanding of different products available.
If you do not normally wear makeup and feel uncomfortable applying it; do not feel that you need to. It is best that you are comfortable and confident.
Typically, closed-toe shoes like dress shoes, plain-coloured flat sneakers, or flats are best in interview settings and are what to wear to a job interview. You should avoid wearing open-toe shoes, thongs, sandals, or athletic sneakers, as they can be viewed as informal and may be considered too casual for most job interviews.
It’s also important to make sure that the shoes are comfortable as you may be asked to walk around the office during the interview.
If you’re comfortable and confident wearing heels, this can be a popular choice, but make sure you can easily walk in them. You don’t want to be worried about tripping over when you should be focusing on what you need to say.
And remember, check your shoes for scuffs or stains and give them a brush and polish before heading in for your interview!
Accessories and Jewellery:
Keep accessories and jewellery to a minimum.
Accessories and jewellery can be a feature of what to wear to a job interview, but it’s important to keep them minimal and appropriate for the industry and position you’re applying for. In general, it’s best to avoid large or flashy jewellery, as well as any items that could be considered distracting or unprofessional. For example, if you’re interviewing for a position in a conservative or formal industry, such as finance or law, it’s best to keep jewellery simple and understated. On the other hand, if you’re interviewing for a creative or fashion-related role, you might be able to incorporate more unique and personal jewellery pieces.
Some jewellery that is appropriate when considering what to wear to a job interview includes:
- Simple watches
- Small hoop earrings or studs
- Basic bracelets
A good rule of thumb is to wear minimal pieces and avoid anything that could be considered too bold, excessive or non-professional.
Where to find what to wear to a job interview?
If you’re looking for what to wear to interview, Australian retailers such as Target, Big W and Kmart have great affordable clothing for you to wear. Set yourself a budget, and try not to exceed it– for basic, professional-looking clothes, you shouldn’t need to spend a fortune. And, once you have purchased one outfit for your interview, you can wear it again for your next interview (or your first day!).
You can find assistance from companies like Dress for Success which is a global not-for-profit organisation that helps empower women by providing clothing for job interviews.