Congratulations! You have already scored well in resume writing and performed even better in your telephonic interview. And now, it is time to appear for a face-to-face interview in your dream company.
As soon as you enter the interview room, you have already created an impression without speaking a single word. Wondering how? It is through your dressing sense. Therefore, it is always wise to follow the interview dress code while appearing for an interview.
If you are struggling to decide what to wear on your interview day, these guidelines will ease your tension.
Note: It is important to remember that interview dress code for males and females vary greatly depending upon factors like location, industry, and company.
Interview dress code for corporate interview
It is crucial to follow a formal dress code while appearing for a corporate interview scheduled at a middle level or senior position in industries like banking and financial services, telecom, etc. Reason being, formal outfits reflect a person’s strong leadership trait and also exhibit seriousness towards the company and the interviewer.
Formal interview dress code for males
Appropriate formal clothing styles for males during the interview are:
Top wear: 👔
- Shirts: A light or solid coloured long-sleeved shirt is always a good idea for interview dressing. You can either go for a plain shirt or a one with micro checks.
- Suits and blazers: You can also opt for a formal suit or simply throw on a blazer over a light or solid coloured shirt. For suits and blazers, it is best to go for colours like black, navy blue, dark grey, dark brown, etc.
Bottom wear: 👖
- Trouser: Choose a dark-coloured trouser, preferably in black, grey, or blue color. You can experiment with the fit of the trouser with a slim, medium, or regular fit. Prefer a plain trouser over a printed one.
- Socks: Select a plain pair of cotton socks that match with the colour of your trousers.
- Shoes: A pair of formal shoes will complete your look. Choose a comfortable pair of shoes. It is always a safe bet to go for colours like black or tan in shoes.
- Tie: Put on a traditional tie to complete the formal look. For the tie, it is advisable to select a color and pattern that complements your shirt. Here is how to tie a tie !
- Belt: Add a hint of style with a solid textured belt. You can select colors like black, brown, or dark blue in belts.
- Watch: Add a finishing touch to your look with a classic watch.
- Bag: Carry a basic brown or black small laptop bag or briefcase for your documents.
Points to remember for male interview dressing
Have a look at these key points:
- Always wear clean and well-pressed clothes.
- Avoid loud colors/prints in shirts. Avoid flashy ties.
- Do remember to wear a mild deodorant.
- Make sure your shoes are free from stains and dust.
- Opt for a clean-shaven look or a well-trimmed beard look.
- Apply a limited amount of aftershave.
- Maintain neatly trimmed nails.
- Carry resume and important documents in a briefcase or laptop bag.
Formal interview dress code for females
Unlike males, females have a large number of options as a formal dress code. Some of the most commonly accepted professional interview dress code for females are:
- Traditional Indian suit: A well-fitted traditional Indian suit is a good option for female candidates. However, avoid wearing a tight-fitted suit with glitter, lace, or animal print.
- Saree: You can also opt for a simple cotton saree in solid or pastel colors for a formal look.
Western wear: 👗
- Pantsuit: A dark or pastel coloured pantsuit with light coloured shirt makes for a classy interview dressing.
- Shirt/Top: Full-sleeved or half-sleeved shirt or top with a knee-length pencil skirt is acceptable as professional dress code. Choose light and pastel shades for shirt/top with minimal print.
- Formal dress: A well-fitted, knee-length dress in straight style is also a good option for female candidates.
- Shoes: Formal women shoes with fairly low-heel look impressive. Go for colors like black, tan, beige, blue, dusky pink, etc.
- Pumps: Pumps look impressive with almost any outfit. They are also versatile and stay in fashion forever. Make sure to choose a comfortable heel or go for flats.
- Handbag: Female candidates can carry a smart and basic hand bag to keep their documents in place. Go for neutral shades or basics colours like black, tan, and blue.
Hair and makeup: 💄
- Minimal make-up. A hint of blush, mascara, and natural-colored lip gloss are usually enough while going for an interview. You can also add a bit of kohl and eyeliner, if you wish.
- Nail paint: Choose neutral colors for nail paint.
- Hairstyle: Hair should be neatly styled in a basic manner. Generally, a low or high ponytail looks good with suits and skirts. You can also opt for a well-combed straight hair look. Another formal hairstlye that goes well with msot outfits is a low and polished bun.
Points to remember for female interview dressing
Have a look at these key points:
- Make sure your outfit is neat, clean, and well-pressed.
- Avoid wearing sleeveless shirts and suits as it imparts causal look.
- Wear a mild deodorant or perfume.
- Make sure your hair is fresh and clean.
- Avoid hair accessories that are flashy or shiny.
- Keep your nails clean and well-shaped and avoid very long nails.
- Avoid gaudy bracelets and dangling earrings. It may spoil the formal look.
- Avoid wearing stilettos for an interview; reserve them for parties.
- Avoid carrying huge handbags. Opt for a subtle coloured and medium-sized handbag. You can even go for a briefcase or small laptop bag instead.
Interview dress code when work place is less formal
If the work place is casual, follow the thumb rule of “neither to be overdressed nor to be underdressed”. For instance, IT is one industry where dress code is less formal and wearing business casuals is considered appropriate. Similarly, in a startup-like environment, casuals or business casuals are prefered.
Even if you are planning to wear business casual dress code for an interview, it is necessary to put in the right effort while shortlisting the outfit.
Casual interview dress code for males
Let us have a look at some outfit options for males.
Top wear: 👕
- Shirts: Long-sleeved and button-down shirts in a light color and simple design look attractive. Colors like white, light blue, light brown, light grey, light pink, mauve, etc., are best to choose. Candidates can also wear denim shirts as they look classy.
- Sweaters and blazers: Sweaters and blazers are optional. If you prefer to wear them, select dark coloured sweaters and semi-formal blazers and wear them over light coloured shirts.
- Trouser: Khaki and cotton pants are ideal to match with light-colored shirts. It is advisable to select cotton pants in dark colors like black, blue, brown, dark grey, etc. You can also choose denim trousers or jeans for business casuals. However, do not wear ill-fitted or ripped jeans.
- Socks: Select a pair of cotton socks and match it with the colour of the trouser.
- Shoes: Choose leather shoes in dark colours like black and brown. You can also go for sneakers in white or black.
- Belt: Compliment your look with a brown or black coloured belt.
- Watch: Wearing a watch is optional. If you wish to wear it, you can either go for a classic one or a sporty one.
Casual interview dress code for females
Choosing a casual interview dress code for females is a tricky task. However, the following guidelines will help:
- Suits or kurtas: A traditional Indian suit in light or solid colour and prints is a good choice for female candidates. However, avoid wearing a tight-fitted suit with heavy embroidery. A casual suit in cotton, chanderi, or georgette fabric is good to go with. You can also opt for a straight and long kurta in cotton or Lucknowi style.
- Shirts and tops: Full or half-sleeve shirts are good to wear for a casual interview. Prefer shirts with simple or no design. You can also opt for casual tops, however, make sure that the top has a comfortable fit.
- Dresses: Females can go for straight-fit dresses in solid colors. Make sure the dress is not body-hugging, instead choose a comfortable fit.
- Sweaters and cardigans: Sweaters, cardigans, and jackets are optional. If candidates are willing to wear them, prefer solid patterns over bright colors.
- Trousers and palazzos: Khaki pants or cotton pants usually work well with shirts and tops. Choose them in dark colours like blue, black, coffee, and grey. Palazzos and leggings look good with kurtas. You can also go for well-fitted basic denim jeans, which works well with both tops and kurtas.
- Skirts: Conservative-length skirts in subtle pastels are a good choice for a casual interview dress code. Prefer wearing skirts with little or no design.
- Sandals: Peep-toe shoes and sandals are permissible.
- Socks: Socks are optional. If candidates want to wear socks, choose light and comfortable fabric with minimal or no design.
- Watch: Do not forget to wear a classy watch with your casual wear.
- Jewellery: Prefer wearing light jewellery like a sleek chain with a small pendant and bracelet to get a polished look.
Hairstyle and Make-up:
- Hair Style: Half tie your hair in a neat style with minimum or no accessory. You can also go for a ponytail or keep your hair loose.
- Nail Paint: Keep nails well-trimmed and clean.
- Minimal Make-up: Keep your face fresh with a hint of light colored blush and a natural-colored lip gloss. Adding a bit of kohl and mascara can impart a beautiful look.
Bonus tips for interview
Here are some additional tips that will help you crack the interview.
Company information: It is necessary to research about the company culture, industry, etc. before heading for the interview. Also, acquaint yourself with the job profile requirements as mentioned in the JD of the posting.
Interview questions: Make sure to prepare some common interview questions and answers. This will help you be more confident during the interview.
Also read: Interview preparation tips
Purchasing interview outfit: If the candidates are planning to purchase a new outfit for an interview, it is advisable to purchase more than one pair as it may happen that they need to appear more than once in the same company. In such a scenario, they can change outfits by either changing shirt or trouser.
Make preparations in advance: Whatever candidates are planning to wear on their interview day, check the attire beforehand. Try out several options, check whether they fit appropriately, and choose the one that suits you the best. Similarly, try different options for shoes and choose the ones which go well with the complete look. Iron clothes and polish shoes in a day advance.
Basic etiquette: Keep smartphone on vibrating or mute mode during an interview so that both candidates and interviewer do not get distracted with a loud message alert or phone call.
Candidates might feel like there are a lot of rules to follow for interview dressing. However, these are generally accepted rules for interview dressing. When it comes to the interview dress code, 'one size fits all' approach does not work. Following the golden rule of 'dressing little better than what existing employees are wearing' may lead to good results. This gives an impression of the way candidates carry themselves and their interest level in the job position.
Stick with aforementioned guidelines, and dress according to industry and work environment. If you are still in dilemma, play safe by calling the company’s HR and ask what s/he recommends to wear.
If you are baffled about how to introduce yourself during interview, read tips on self-introduction for interview.
We wish you all the best for your upcoming interview.