Dressing for the interview

You’ve finally gotten the call for an in-person interview. Regardless of your gender, you may first ask yourself “what am I going to wear?” You may not realize it, but you are communicating a lot through your appearance. Studies suggest that “as much as 65% of the social, or relational, meaning in messages is based on nonverbal communication” (Beebe, Beebe, Redmond, 2014). What you wear to an interview can play a large role in how successful it is.


Here are some tips for dressing for a successful in-person interview:


  1. Always assume the dress code is business professional unless they specify otherwise. If the hiring manager doesn’t tell you, assume it’s a business professional. For men, this means a full suit with a tie. For women, this means a dress suit, a skirt suit or a pants suit. Any of those would be appropriate.
  2. Remember that you don’t want to wear anything that’s too distracting, so stay away from bold patterns and colors for the most part. Ladies, keep the make-up and accessories minimal. You don’t want to wear anything that can distract from what you have to say.
  3. Make sure you are presentable. This means your hair is clean and combed. Make sure there are no wrinkles in your clothing, and your shoes aren’t dirty.
  4. Last, but not least, make sure to wear something you feel confident in. If you feel good about how you look physically, it will translate to your voice, and help you stay confident and calm during your interview.



Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2014). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others(6th ed.). Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.


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