Knowing whether or not the interviewer will perceive your attire as “appropriate” can contribute to your anxiety about a job interview. On one hand, attire is more casual today in many work environments than it was 15-20 years ago. On the other, you do not want to risk that you will be dressed too casually and appear as though you do not care about the job or lack knowledge about industry standards. A few tips you may want to consider:
- Find out what other employees are wearing, especially those in similar positions to the one in which you are applying
- If you are unsure, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed; for most positions, including internships, you should avoid jeans, t-shirts, or tennis shoes. You could also wear a jacket or sweater and take it off if the atmosphere appears more casual than what you had thought.
- Press your clothes; if you do not have an iron or do not know how to use it, invest in dry cleaning (you can choose the “press only” option to save money)
- If you are one that easily perspires, you may also want to dress in light-weight clothes or according to weather conditions (e.g., wear short rather than long sleeves in summer months or hot weather). Although you may think your long-sleeved shirts or jackets look nicer, sweat stains under your arms may counteract your good intentions.
- Additionally, remember to wear deodorant, avoid perfumes or strong fragrances, and gum. Wearing deodorant is simply good hygiene; if you are nervous, you may be more likely to sweat in an interview. Some perfumes or lotions may trigger physical reactions in others (e.g., cause interviewer to have a headache or other allergic reaction). Further, some individuals may overdo perfumes or lotions or chew gum to mask the smell of smoke; it usually does not work, so it is best to avoid smoking at all the day of the interview, or at least try to avoid between the times you have showered/brushed your teeth and complete the interview. This way you do not have to overcompensate for things that may be a “turn off” to potential employers.
For more information, see How to Dress for Your Next Interview- Forbes.