When you land an interview, what you decide to wear can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer -- and it goes without saying that you want to leave a good one. Your outfit conveys a decision-making process you went through before the interview -- and says a lot about your intuition. Stick with understated choices appropriate for the industry and the company.
Understated means leaving fake lashes and purple nail polish at home. It also means avoiding a brightly colored suit. You don't want to draw attention to your suit. Instead, you want to draw attention to your professionalism, skills and abilities. Choose a flattering color that doesn't jump out at the interviewer. Neutrals, which can include black, grey, chocolate or dark blue, are good choices. For a punch of color, add a tasteful scarf, bag, or even shirt if it's not over the top. In the summer, you might wear a light grey or tan suit, but avoid pinks, reds, or bright pastels. You want the employer to remember your personality, not an irreverent fashion choice or accessory.
You should assume conservative dress is appropriate until you know otherwise. Companies often have unwritten codes about appropriate dress. If you're applying for a job in a traditionally conservative business, such as a financial or accounting firm, you can assume that the company expects its employees to dress conservatively, which typically includes subtle-colored clothing. Even if you're applying for a job in a less traditional industry, such as advertising or publishing, you really can't go wrong with a simple black or grey suit at a job interview. It's universally accepted -- and not risky. A bright orange blazer, on the other hand, could make you appear unprofessional -- and who knows, you interviewer might simply detest the color orange, which could subconsciously affect her opinion of you.
Dress for the Company's Culture
You want to dress as though you're already working for the company that's interviewing you. This means that if you're interviewing for a job as a flight attendant, you want to look like a flight attendant as much as possible at your interview. While you don't have wear a hat and carry a tray, you might want to wear a navy blue suit, pumps and hose if this is the traditional dress of the company's employees. On the other hand, if you're applying for a job as a buyer in the fashion industry, you want to ensure that your clothes are stylish, but not overly trendy or provocative. Consider the image the company portrays -- and dress to fit that image.
The color of your suit also conveys your personality. Richard S. Deems, author of "Make Job Loss Work for You," suggests to "US News" that different colors convey different attitudes. For example, softer colors are good choices for social service positions like teaching, counseling, or human resources. For management positions, dark colors, like navy and black, convey confidence and leadership. When getting dressed for your interview, keep in mind the attitude you want to convey -- and choose your suit to reflect this.
Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.