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3 Outfit Tips for Your Next Job Interview

3 Outfit Tips for Your Next Job Interview
Credit: g-stockstudio/Shutterstock

After perfecting your resume, crafting a great cover letter and acing your phone interview, you finally scored an in-person interview for your dream job. Now the hard part begins.

Whether it's your first job interview or the 100th, it's important to be prepared – including on what you plan to wear.

"Making these snap judgments is rooted in our early evolutionary need to determine whether or not a new person we're encountering poses a threat," said Dr. Jacinta Jiménez, head of coaching at BetterUp. "Being strategic about what to wear to an interview is important. Hiring managers want to be able to picture you in the position they are looking to fill." 

Most people know to err on the side of caution when choosing an outfit for an interview. It's a safe bet to avoid shorts and a T-shirt, but going too casual isn't the only fashion faux pas job seekers need to think about.

Business News Daily talked to recruitment, fashion and career experts for their best tips on how to dress for a job interview.

It's obvious that a pair of jean shorts and flip-flops are a no-go for interview apparel, but so are ill-fitting clothes.

"It's not just what you're wearing, but how it fits you," said Sloane Barbour, regional director of recruitment and placement agency Jobspring Partners. "It's worth spending the extra money and effort to get something that fits properly. Someone in jeans [that fit] looks better than someone in an oversized suit."

The job interview should be focused on you – your skills, experience and personality, not your clothes.  

Adrienne Kronovet, founder of women's workwear brand Ameliora, suggests wearing one of your favorite, classic outfits that you know you look professional in, but that is also simple and comfortable.

"We all have that [outfit] in our closets," she said. "This will allow you to focus on the actual interview instead of your attire. Uncomfortable clothes can distract your train of thought and place unnecessary pressure on you to navigate itchy fabrics or odd seam bunching."

The definition of "business casual" isn't always clear and could differ between companies. While showing up in a polo and jeans may be appropriate at some companies, it's too casual for other businesses. 

"I recommend erring on the side of dressing up slightly more than the position requires," Jiménez told Business News Daily. "Going too casual can communicate that you're not taking the opportunity seriously or worse yet, could put you at risk of communicating [to the] interviewer that you don't care about making a good impression."

Jiménez recommends giving yourself options. For example, bring a jacket that would make an outfit more formal. Then you're able to throw the jacket on if you get a more formal vibe in the office.

If you're comfortable doing so, you can also ask someone connected to the company about the dress code beforehand. You could even research the company's website and social networks to see if there are photos of employees in the office to get an idea of their everyday attire.

Saige Driver

Saige Driver graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. She started her career at a radio station in Indiana, and is currently a B2B staff writer at Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.