For women, what to wear to an interview is pretty tricky, thanks to the tons of options they have when it comes to choosing their attire and the corresponding accessories. Once you have bagged that job interview, figuring out your interview outfit is vital to ensure you dress right.
Choosing what to wear is as vital as what is on your CV. Remember – a well-planned outfit can make all the difference between being seen as professional and not being given much of a chance or having your qualifications ignored altogether. Be it button-down shirts, dress pants, or navy blue skirts, your attire needs to suit the setting and go well with the type of interview – from formal, creative, or business-specific to casual interviews.
Not sure what you should wear when attending an interview? Feeling jittery about how to dress to impress? There’s no need to worry as we have got you covered.
Do Your Homework Regarding the Company’s Dress Code
Before appearing for a job interview, it’s important to get a good idea of the company’s culture, work environment, dress code (if any), and workplace attire expectations. There are various ways to find such information. The easiest and smartest way is to call the company and ask them.
If you don’t want to call the company, you can visit their website and social media pages to find a few things about how people dress at the workplace. If it’s convenient, you could even visit the company’s location and observe first-hand how employees dress.
Dress Professionally Based on the Type of Interview
Whether you are able to find a few things about the company’s dress code or not, you can classify interview attires based on these four interview types or settings:
- For interviews in formal environments, a tailored suit or a shirt/blouse paired with a menswear-inspired khaki blazer will be a good choice. You can pair them with a pencil skirt or black dress pants. Close-toed pumps or lace-up dress shoes can complete your interview look.
- For casual interviews like those for a start-up or tech company where the staff turns up wearing T-shirts, button-downs, jeans, and hoodies, women won’t need to stress much about their interview attire. You can choose from button-down shirts with a modest neckline, t-shirts, skirts, and dresses that aren’t part of a business suit, khaki pants, slacks, dark-wash jeans, and non-denim pants. Sneakers or casual shoes can complete your job interview look.
- Interviews for creative positions, such as in anart gallery, design company, or clothing boutique that comes across as having a fashion-forward culture of dressing give women a lot of freedom and flexibility to experiment with their interview clothing. From a pantsuit (often frowned upon by employers in a formal setting) to a statement dress to some other garment and accessories that showcase the latest trends and resemble the styles donned by the company’s employees and clientele will be wise choices.
- When appearing for industry-specific interviews, say for the position of a retail store’s floor manager, front desk executive, staff at a medical facility, or a trainer at a fitness studio, the interview attire may differ considerably between what you wear for your interview and that you will don when on the job. Say, if you are interviewing for a trainer’s post at a fitness studio, you can wear business casuals for your in-person interview and an athletic outfit for a physical demonstration of your training approach. A business casual also suits someone seeking a job at a medical facility even when the person could be wearing a lab coat or scrubs on the job.
Vital Tip: You need to dress professionally, no matter what type of interview or setting it is. And whatever attire you choose, make sure it’s the right fit for your body. Choose a size that fits you well and flatters your figure but isn’t too tight or too revealing.
Choose Your Interview Attire Based on the Location
The location of your interview plays an important role in the clothes you wear. When interviewing on Zoom, selecting colours that contrast with your background, thus making you stand out, is good. It will be wise to choose colours that don’t clash too much with each other.
Again, when interviewing at a company’s headquarters, the attire you wear could depend on what the dress code or the standard office wear is. For onsite interviews, you should focus on your physical comfort.
For example, sitting in an air-conditioned office can make you feel frigid after a short while of being there, while fitness facilities could feel balmy. If your interview is scheduled at an outdoor location, choosing a weather-proof coat or durable pair of shoes could be a prudent choice
Select the Right Shoes
If you choose your shoes wrong, you can end up ruining your otherwise carefully planned job interview look. If the answer to “what shoes should a woman wear to a job interview” is giving you nightmares and you don’t want to second-guess your choices, you can take the safest route by opting for dress shoes like flats, closed-toed heels, or short boots.
You need to avoid knee-high boots, bright colours, flip flops, and anything furry. If you have chosen a neutral outfit for your job interview, you can safely wear shoes with a mild pattern or colour. Black is another safe choice to don as you can never go wrong with it.
In case your attire on top already has some patterns, choosing simpler shoes will be wiser. From neutral or ballet flats, loafers, or pumps to booties with a low heel, you can take your pick based on what goes well with your dress and makes you feel comfortable.
Don’t Forget Your Accessories
Dressing up with a diverse range of accessories is a boon for women. With the right accessories, you can heighten the effect of even the most mundane of dresses. But when it comes to deciding what should women wear to a job interview in terms of accessories, the choice could be a little trickier.
For job interviews, you should ideally avoid wearing accessories that are too gaudy and loud as they will make your interviewer(s) distracted. You will also end up attracting negative attention to yourself.
Not sure what kind of accessories to wear to an interview? Keep the “less is more” principle in mind and choose a simple necklace or bracelet, which you could pair with stud earrings (in case you wear earrings). Small and simple earrings such as gold or silver pieces will do.
Even for your bracelet or necklace, a basic gold or silver piece will be good to go. But if you have decided to wear a statement dress, you can do away with a piece of jewellery or other accessories to complete the look (if you desire so) as the dress speaks for itself.
When choosing your watch, remember not to skimp on quality. However, you don’t need to go overboard as your simple, trusty watch will be a wise choice.
Downplay Your Makeup
What makeup to wear to an interview is a question that many women struggle to answer and decide. If you too belong to this league, take heart for we have a few useful tips for you to follow and ace your interview.
For one, your makeup should be considered professional. Not sure what it means? It refers to makeup that’s subtle but enhances your features nonetheless without incorporating any overdramatic or distracting elements. In brief, your makeup should give you a natural look, which is the standard professional style for job interviews.
Vital Pro Makeup Tips: These few tips can help you get your interview makeup right:
- Moisturize your eyelids and areas under the eyes to conceal any discoloration that could make you look bored or tired.
- Stick to neutrals like creams, light pinks, browns, and tans that enhance your face’s natural contours and features, and go well with your professional clothing. For your blush, lip, and eye shadow colour, select shades that match your skin’s undertones.
- Opt for a subtle eyeliner that makes you look natural and professional.
- Shape your eyebrows and emphasise them, as strong brows create a positive impact on your overall look, thus making you appear more confident and powerful.
- Use a setting spray to finish off your look and ensure everything stays in place throughout the day.
Once your job search has yielded results and brought you a job interview, remember to dress professionally using the tips above. Be it a button-down shirt, navy blue blazer, simple black pencil skirt, or accessories like a watch and skinny waist belt, choose them right to create a positive first impression and land that new job in no time!
Here’s wishing you good luck for your next job interview!