Interview Attire (Women)

 

  • A classic suit in navy blue, gray or black (khaki in summer or warmer climates) is always appropriate. A conservative dress with a jacket would also work provided it is not too low cut, girlish or bright. Although a suit or dress is preferable, a navy blue blazer and classic gray skirt (wool in winter, linen in summer) can be more. On no occasion should you wear pants.
  • A word about skirt lengths is in order. Shorter skirts are acceptable provided that the skirt meets the top of the knee. We would not, however, advise anyone to interview in a short skirt unless you are looking for a position in the fashion industry. In traditionally male-dominated fields, such as banking and the law, miniskirts and skirts with high slits are not advisable.
  • Remember that one's dress and grooming send out powerful messages to a prospective employer. Clinging clothes, purple or glittery fingernails, open-toe shoes and dangling earrings are all inappropriate for an interview. If your hair tends to look a little wild, wear it in a ponytail with a bow barrette. Pearl stud earrings and a strand of pearls can add a touch of sophistication.
  • The important thing is to wear just a few pieces of jewelry. Stud earrings, watch, pearls and one gold chain are sufficient. Don't wear more than one ring on each hand.
  • As for the blouse, we suggest a white or ivory cotton, high necked affair, but silk or a polyester that looks like silk will do.
  • If you want to wear nail polish, make sure that none of the polish is chipped and that the color is either clear, pink or red. About the color red. Do not wear it to an interview at a financial institution or Fortune 500 company which might tend to be more conservative. Once you get the job, however, red or other bright-colored clothing may be perfectly acceptable. One Washington, D.C. employer once told us that a candidate arrived wearing a navy blue suit with a red belt, red shoes, red earrings, red necklace, red bag and red nails. She had purchased all the accessories on a trip to Paris. What works in Paris does not necessarily work in Kansas, or even Washington, D.C., and guess what, she was not selected.
  • Pantyhose, even in the summer, are a must. Bare legs might escape the attention of a male interviewer, but the odds are that any woman who interviews you would notice. It's not a bad idea to carry a spare pair in your briefcase or purse.
  • As for briefcases, they are optional. What you should avoid, however, is carrying a tote or shopping bag into a interview. If you need to wear athletic shoes on route to the interview, carry a brief case large enough to conceal them. Change into your pumps from your athletic shoes outside the building. You will be less nervous doing this away from the gaze of the company receptionist and can concentrate on observing the company employees and the office atmosphere.