First Impressions Count – What you wear, what does it say about you?

Did you know when you meet someone new you will form an opinion about them based on the way they look within the 1st three minutes? Dressing appropriately for an interview is the best way to make a first impression and it can either make or break you at an interview. 

Over the last two years, job interviews have moved from in-person to online via Zoom, etc. I can hear you asking – does the interview attire still matter? In short – Yes. The workplace culture is more casual these days, however, what you wear still matters. Employers are primarily interested in your skills and experience; however, you are not the only one being interviewed. Keep in mind, that if you and another candidate are essentially equal in skills and experience, then other considerations come into play, and one of these is your personal appearance.

Showing up underdressed to a job interview can communicate to a prospective employer that you aren’t entirely serious about the job opportunity. So, take the time to dress appropriately; that is, dressing up will never hurt your prospects but appearing too casual or under-dressed can and often will.

Some Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding What to Wear to an Interview

  1. Do you Have a Virtual Interview or In-Person?

For an in-person interview, make sure you arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the interview at the correct address.

If you have a virtual interview, ensure you allow ample time to set up your computer equipment in an appropriate, quiet and well-lit room, and pay attention to your personal appearance to present yourself as a professional. Do not fall into the Zoom trap of business up top and PJs below the camera – you will not feel as confident that way.

What is the Company’s Culture?

You may not always to able to find out this information, but if you can it will determine how you present yourself at the interview. If you cannot find out the culture of the workplace that you are applying to, either speak to the hiring manager or aim for a professional approach.

Dress for Success Tips


Professional Organisations:

  • Suits – the best colours are charcoal grey, navy and black
  • Polish your shoes
  • Wear a muted and simple tie.

Semi-Professional and Casual Organisations:

  • Semi-Professional – best to err on the side of professionalism here and in most cases, a suit is recommended, but if you are overdressed, you can remove your jacket or tie.
  • Casual – wear a pair of dark or casual trousers with a buttoned-up dress shirt or polo shirt. Remember to not under-dress.

General Tips:

  • Remove earrings and facial jewellery
  • Make sure your hair is neat – a great time to get a haircut
  • Trim or shave facial hair
  • Cover tattoos.


Professional Organisations:

  • Wearing a classic suit with the skirt at knee level – the best colours are charcoal and soft grey, navy, black and deep purple; and simple plaids or pinstripes are acceptable.
  • Closed-toe shoes with a medium heel and skin coloured stockings
  • Shirts should be simple and plain, and no plunging necklines.

Semi-Professional and Casual Organisations:

  • Semi-Professional – a more casual suit, with either a skirt or pants and a jacket
  • Casual – wear a simple shirt with a skirt or pants, or a dress.

General Tips:

  • Keep jewellery simple (ie. only 2 rings per hand)
  • Only wear 1 necklace and 1 pair of earrings – small and simple
  • Make sure is hair is trimmed and your hairstyle is up to date, and for long hair tie it back
  • Removal of any facial jewellery and conceal any tattoos.

Interview Preparation Checklist

Don’t wait until the morning of your interview to get your outfit put together, at least a couple of days prior to the interview.

  •        Physically try your outfit on to make sure it fits
  •        Press or dry-clean the outfit
  •        Polish your shoes and check your accessories
  •        Don’t wear overpowering perfumes or colognes.

If you need further education on interview tips and strategies, use the link below to book an Interview Coaching Session -