What to Wear to Your First Job Interview – How to Get Hired

You finally get the long awaited call for your first job interview by a prospective employer. Now it is time to decide what to wear. It is a very important decision. Initial impressions can count for a large portion of your interview. During my time in human resources, I saw some examples of good applicants, and some walking disasters come through the door. It made or broke some applicant’s futures with the company. Entry level positions are especially sensitive to wardrobe because applicants usually do not have the job history and education for an employer to judge them on. Here are some basic guidelines for making your interview successful with the clothes you wear.

For food service positions, what you wear will depend on the establishment. For fast food or quick service restaurants, wearing formal attire will send the wrong message. Instead, a pair of clean, non ripped and no-slit jeans is fine. Pair that with a button down shirt that is completely buttoned or a solid colored top. Neither should be clingy or revealing. At a mid-level to high end establishment, look at the quality of the attire that the wait staff wear prior to your interview. Wear clothing to your interview that is slightly nicer than that standard of dress. This applies not only if you are trying to get a position as front line staff such as a waiter or waitress, but behind the scenes jobs such as cook or assistant.

For office possessions, there is a high standard. Strive for a standard of business to business casual attire. Clothing must be neatly pressed with no rips, tears or stains.

· A man should wear nice slacks, new or very gently worn, never jeans or cargo pants. A button down shirt and white cotton t-shirt underneath. Preferably, a tie is worn at minimum. A zipper tie is appropriate as long as the zipper is not showing. A blazer or suit jacket is also worn, but can be optional for a business casual environment. Loafers or polished leather shoes should be worn.
· A woman should wear slacks or a skirt that is longer than knee length. Paint suits or skirt suits are appropriate as long as they have a proper fit. Heels should be modest and not overly tall.

In either gender’s case, no undergarment should show. Avoid all revealing or clingy clothing. Any clothing with sayings or logos should be avoided. Colors should be neutral or earth tone. Avoid overly bright colors unless that goes with the company’s style.

For all employers, make sure you are well groomed and bathed. Wear deodorant and go light on perfumes, body sprays, lotions and other scent-producing products. These are distracting and can be unpleasant if overly applied. This seems like common sense, but I have seen applicants lose job opportunities over both not wearing deodorant and wearing too much perfume. Brush your hair and teeth. Overall, make sure you are presenting yourself in the best light possible. Good luck and happy job hunting.

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