At first glance the question, ‘What should I wear at a job interview? ‘ seems to have an obvious answer, wear your best suit. Yet this isn’t always true.
What Type of Job Do You Want
My brother was living in Toronto for a short time after graduating high school, before heading off to college. He was looking for a job in construction since he had always been interested in it. He also liked to dress well, and had spent a fair bit of money on some nice clothes.
He had a job interview for a construction firm, and that morning he went into the office wearing a pair of brand new, stylish black jeans, an expensive long sleeve black shirt, and a good pair of shoes. The foreman was wearing faded blue jeans, a work shirt that was clean but well used, and work boots.
According to my brother, the foreman took one look at him, laughed and told him to get out. The foreman wanted someone who didn’t mind getting dirty and was ready to work immediately, my brother looked ready for a job at a restaurant or a nice clothing store.
Depending on what type of job you want, your clothing choices will change. If you overdress for a job interview, your interviewer may think you won’t be able to do the job, or that you won’t want to do it for very long. If you under dress, it shows that you don’t care enough about the job to try your best. It’s your responsibility to know enough about the company to guess what clothes would be best.
Preparing for a Job Interview
One way to decide what to wear is to visit the company or store before the interview.
Obviously for working in an office environment, you will want to wear a suit even if the majority of the staff is dressed like it’s casual Friday. But if you’re looking for a job in retail, small level IT firm, or the service industry, the type of clothing you should wear could vary fairly significantly. So you should see what the staff is wearing, find out what the most expensive style is and try to copy it, provided your funds allow it.
Match the Clothes to the Job
The thing to remember is that you want to look like you’ll fit in nicely. In a factory or construction setting, you need to look like you’re ready to work, while still being presentable. Clean jeans, a plain t-shirt or long sleeve shirt and work boots are the best choice.
In a basic retail store, dress pants, nice trousers or a good skirt, and a button up shirt or possibly a nice polo shirt will suffice for most job interviews. At a clothing store, try to wear clothes that fit the style of clothing they sell, it will fit the theme nicely, and makes you seem knowledgeable about the store. At a jewelry store or other high priced goods stores wear a suit, most of the customers will be wearing one.
At a restaurant you’ll want to dress up according to the quality of the restaurant. Wearing a suit to McDonald’s will immediately make you look out of place unless you’re trying for the managers position. At cheap or casual restaurants you’ll want to wear good looking casual clothes. If the restaurant has a theme to it, see if you can dress up according to the theme. So at a Western steakhouse, wear good jeans and a Western style shirt, at a Caribbean style restaurant wear more colourful clothes. At high end restaurants wear a suit.
Whatever you do don’t just throw on any clothes. Make sure they’re clean, and appropriate to the job. You don’t want to lose a job because of your clothes.
Dan Clarke is a career coach, who while specializing in work at home jobs, has helped a fair number of people find more traditional jobs. To learn more visit his website, Be Happy Working at Home.