A job interview with a teenager in progress

 “What should a teenager wear to a job interview?” is a question that frequently pops in the minds of high school students looking for a seasonal or part-time position to earn a bit of additional money and get exposure to the workplace.

The service industry seems to be the preferred choice of these career-oriented teenagers as restaurants, cafes, or retail stores usually hire temporary workers to try our potential hires, keep their staffing costs down, and ensure their regular employees aren’t overworked.

Teenagers can also find temporary positions as dog sitters, babysitters, or volunteers. But whatever position they choose to apply for, they need to dress professionally to show they are mature enough to handle the job and are ready and willing to be accountable.

If your teenage son or daughter or some other teen you know is planning to interview for a part-time or temporary position and needs advice on what to wear to an interview, here are certain useful things related to interview attire that you can share with them.

Understanding Why It’s Crucial to Wear the Right Outfit for a Job Interview

By wearing appropriate outfits and looking polished, teens can highlight their maturity level. A polished look for a job interview also indicates responsibility and a willingness to work.

Though they don’t need to don business attire, the casual clothes they wear every day to hang out with family and friends aren’t usually suitable for a job interview. Even the accessories, shoes, and makeup they wear on these occasions are quite different from what’s needed when appearing for an interview.

Since first impressions matter, it’s important that teenagers dress suitably for the interview process.

What to Wear to an Interview – Advice for Teenagers

For their job interviews, teenagers don’t need to go overboard and don business suits. They just need to keep the professional dress code in mind to ensure they dress appropriately. Given below are some tips that will help them ace the dress code and impress their hiring managers.

1.      Button-down shirt with dark, well-fitting slacks or khakis

Most positions tailored to teenagers don’t need them to wear a suit. A monochromatic button-down shirt paired with well-fitting slacks or khaki pants will be adequate.

Such professional attire will help show the person is mature, organized, responsible, and have thoughtfully prepared for the interview.

2.      Button-down collared shirt with a sweater and slacks or khakis

In case the teenager is interviewing for a position that needs a more elevated style, a button-down collared shirt paired with a well-fitted sweater combined with slacks or khakis can be a good choice.

However, a well-fitted sweater doesn’t mean one that’s too tight or low cut.

3.      Polo shirt with slacks or skirt

Depending on the season the teenagers are interviewing, they should pick matching attires. For instance, wearing a polo shirt with slacks or a skirt is adequate when interviewing for seasonal jobs in summer.

It’s vital to remember as a polo shirt is a more casual form of dressing, teenagers should pair it with a smart skirt or slacks and ensure they tuck in their polo shirt to display professionalism.

4.      Polo shirt with dark khakis

If the teenager is averse to wearing slacks with a polo shirt, pairing dark khakis is a good idea. Matching the colour of the slacks to the shoes and belt they are wearing for the job interview is a key thing they should remember, as it will give them a neat appearance.

For instance, dark khakis go well with a light-coloured polo shirt, a belt, and brown loafers or dress shoes.

5.      Button-down shirt paired with a cardigan and dress pants

Teens interviewing during the colder months can also choose a button-down shirt (in a light colour) and wear a cardigan as an additional accessory to stand out from the rest.

For their bottom wear, they can select khaki pants, navy blue pants, or a skirt in a darker shade.

6.      Dress shirt paired with dark-coloured jeans

When trying to find the answer to “what should teenagers wear to a job interview,” jeans may not feature in your list of preferred attires. However, teenagers can pair dark jeans that complement their dress shirt’s colour and style.

The key is to select jeans that aren’t wrinkled or have rips, stains, and holes. Teenagers should choose ironed jeans and pair them with a tucked-in, wrinkle-free shirt before they face the interviewer(s).

Additional Key Tips for Job Interview Attire

1.      Avoid Experimenting or Donning Risqué Outfits

Since the first thing a potential employer will notice is how the job applicants present themselves, it’s very crucial for teenagers to choose the right attire for their job interviews. Instead of experimenting a lot or choosing crazy and bizarre colours, they should keep it simple and minimal, and take the tried-and-tested route.

2.      Don’t Wear Casual Clothing

They should ideally avoid wearing anything that’s inappropriate for a job interview, such as shorts or ripped jeans, halter tops, strapless dresses, tank tops, wedge sandals, and flip flops, to name a few.

It’s also advisable to avoid wearing revealing clothes and a lot of jewellery. Using too much makeup and wearing too much perfume is a complete no-no as is turning up in a dishevelled state. Since it’s about creating the right first impression, the clothes, accessories, and attitude should all align well to showcase a professional look and attitude. 

Final Words

If a teenager you know or have is worried about what to wear to an interview, you can use the above tips to guide the youngster and ensure the young man or woman showcases himself or herself the best way possible in front of the interviewers.

What else will you add to the list above when answering “what to wear to a job interview?” for teenagers.

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