10 Things You Should Never Wear to a Job Interview

10 Things You Should Never Wear to an Interview

Going to work and job interviews used to require wearing a suit all of the time. You had your work clothes and your casual clothes. Today’s workforce faces the interesting challenge of having to wear different outfits depending on the business culture’s dress code.

Instead of explaining every dress code around the world, then leaving you to guess when a dress code applies, see this list of 10 things you should never wear to a job interview.

10. Visible underwear

The root form of the word “underwear” is “under” meaning “under your clothes” (ie. meant not to be seen). There are casual dress styles in which male and female underwear can be seen. These styles are not appropriate for any job interview.

You are going to a business to convince them why you should be a valuable (and paid) employee. You want the focus of attention to be on your resume and why they should hire you for the job, not your undergarments.

9. Flip-flops and sneakers

Nothing says, “I am running an errand and I do not care” more than wearing flip-flops or sneakers to a job interview. First, no one wants to see your toes or smell your feet. Next, wearing sneakers, or flip-flops, looks like you just threw something on without preparing to look your best. Why would you not want to look your best to get a job?

Yes, some work cultures do permit this attire once you are hired. However, for the initial job interview, you should present yourself professionally, so they know what you believe is “looking your very best”.

8. Shorts or cut-off pants

You probably noticed by now that the clothes mentioned above sound like things you wear at a beach, park, or relaxing after work. At a job interview, you should be showing the company what you think are the right professional clothes to wear during work!

If the clothing is either too revealing or gives the impression you have no idea what the word “professional” means, you will most likely never hear from that company again.

7. An old pair of jeans with rips and tears

There is such a thing as “designer jeans” used with a business casual look. Before you claim all of your old pairs of jeans are designer jeans, remember you will only be kidding yourself.

If a hiring manager sees you walk into a job interview in beat up, old jeans the first impression he/she will get is that you neither care about the job nor have any business sense. You only get away with wearing designer jeans, if your look was business casual.

If you want to dress however you want, start your own company. Do not expect others to understand you dress a certain way to look like Mark Zuckerberg.

6. Really short skirts

These types clothes are too revealing of your body shape, which will make others uncomfortable. At the same time, you also may appear uncomfortable, as if your clothes are choking you. It may seem appropriate to you, but in general, this is not a safe, professional look for a job interview.

5. Really tight pants

Along the same lines, tight pants reveal too much of a person’s shape and can make an interviewer uncomfortable for the same reasons in #6.

4. Clothes revealing too much information

Whether you are a man or woman, clothes that reveal body parts and tattoos should never be worn to a professional job interview. You may see some service industry establishments give a free pass on these types of outfits, but the food service industry is a different demon. What you wear to sell drinks to patrons is not the type of outfit you should wear to a job interview.

3. Sweatpants

You are not going to the gym, back to sleep, or getting ready to hop on the exercise bike. You are going to a job interview. Even if you are interviewing to work at a company that sells exercise equipment, you will never work in your sweatpants.  

2. Crop-tops

Showing your navel (aka. belly-button) has both cultural and suggestive implications, some of which may be offensive to the people you are speaking with. You may see that type of outfit on the performance side of the entertainment industry, but it does not belong in a job interview.

1. Too much cologne or perfume

Most interviews take place in closed rooms and in close proximity to the hiring manager. When there is little air to breathe and the both of you are talking, the last thing you should do is gas a hiring manager with too much cologne or perfume. The less they can breathe, the more they will remember you for that scent you wore to their job interview.  

In closing

Choosing to wear inappropriate clothing for a job interview can indicate if a job candidate has:

  • Social awareness
  • Professional awareness

If what you wear seems to match with what the company finds appropriate, then you may be a culture fit. But if you come across a company and misinterpret how you should have dressed, you may need to reconsider what you believe is appropriate for the industry you want to work in.

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