How to Dress for Your Next Interview

Interviews are stressful and exhausting as it is, add to that your attempt to try and make a good first impression. Under so much pressure, it’s easy to do or say something that you’re not supposed to, but it’s easier to shift the focus on your attire for the interaction. While online job portals won’t allow you to make a statement using your outfit, you can make an impact on the recruiter when you meet them for an interview. Whether you like it or not, recruiters do judge candidates on the basis of how they present themselves.

Recipe for Success

A survey by CareerBuilder showed that there was a correlation between the colors chosen by interviewees and the personality traits they exhibited. Their study showed:

Black indicates leadership qualities

Blue colors show a positive team player approach

Brown conveys dependability

Gray shows a logical and analytical perspective

Red establishes power

White implies an organized personality

Bright colors like green, yellow, orange, or purple expresses a creative mindset

Credits: YMCADE

Steps to Choose Your Outfit Appropriately

Thorough Research

Use good old social media to see what the employees wear and find out the acceptable dress code.

Try to “One-Up” Them

See what employees wear on a daily basis and try to notch your interview game up one level. 

Carry Fragrance, Which Isn’t a Deo

Should you wear strong deodorants, perfumes, or fragrances to interviews? No, you should not wear strong deodorants, perfumes, or fragrances to interviews. If you’re in dire need, spray a little eau de toilette or a very light deodorants that does not have a pungent or stinging fragrance.

Keep it Straightforward and Simple

A simple black and white suit has never been considered flashy or overdressed. Formal shoes with little or subtle designs, or a pair of heels are classy.

Corporate Dress Code

“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”
– Austin Kleon

This might be one of the most cliche and overused advice to pump more passion in your career, it’s also quite accurate. You also have to keep in mind, though, that your thoughts and opinions may not always perfectly align with the company. To avoid that awkward interaction, meet the middle ground and dress in a professional, passionate, yet neutral combination. 

With the rise in start-up culture, even in India, a number of companies have relaxed their dress codes with casual or semi-formal attires replacing the legendary pant-suit era of Indian Corporates. While some large companies still comply with strict formal codes, there are particular industries like finance and law that demand you wear suits, even for interviews. 

So, if you’re planning to work in a listed IT firm in India, you’ll be restricted to strict formals during office hours and events. So will be the case for law firm, venture capitalist or other financial firms, and in several government jobs.

What do Your Clothes Say?

You can use the term “denim pants” instead of a pair of jeans, but a company will see it for it is, a piece of casual clothing. Businesses see clothing in 3 categories and depending on which look you’re going for, you need to decide which message you want to put across.

Business professional:

Suits. That’s it, no tweaks or any sort of twist to “add your own flavour”. Suits for men, with either a blazer or jacket, and skirts or pants suit with heels for women.

Business Casual:

Business casual implies the same environment as business professional but without formalities or obligations. Sporting the same outfit without a blazer for men, and a conservative dress or a sweater with a skirt or dress pants.


The name says it all. Although, don’t wear shorts or slippers to the interview in a company with this policy, but you can wear khaki pants, with a polo or button-down, and loafers for men. While women can wear a collared shirt paired with pants or a solid colored leggings, or a chic work dress.


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