How To Dress For a Job Interview

Many times people fail to think of their interview here at BarryStaff as a job interview but that’s exactly what it is. Successful candidates will be going to work on the BarryStaff payroll and will be at our client’s job site representing our company. We have to wonder then, when people show up wearing torn t-shirts, dirty cutoffs, flip-flops, and a face full of metal piercings.  So before we send them out on jobs or interviews, we sometimes need to remind them of the right way to dress for both the interview and the workplace.  Generally the best bet on how to dress for a job interview is to wear clean clothes that will be appropriate to wear on the job.   Help them to envision you as a good fit for the job.    But don’t just take it from us. Take a look at what the Head of Design at Banana Republic had to say in a recent interview with Tony Balderama.

Job interviews are similar to the presidential debates that occur every election season. Two people are given the opportunity to ask and answer questions so that they can see if the candidate is right for the position. In both an interview and a debate, much thought is given to wardrobe. If you’re running for president, you’re probably going to incorporate the patriotic colors of red, white and blue. If you’re applying for a job, you’re going to stick with conservative tones. Why? Because clothes are the first impression you make — even before you speak a single word to the interviewer.

We asked Simon Kneen, head of design and creative director at Banana Republic, to weigh in with his interview outfit tips for job seekers.

Get the best fit
Most job seekers are trying to look professional for their interviews, but sometimes a few simple missteps can harm their image and make the wrong impression.

To get the right clothing fit, Kneen recommends that men ask if stores offer tailoring. If the service isn’t offered, they should check with their local dry cleaner. Women often encounter problems when they don’t choose the right clothing for their body shape. “Accentuating curves and hiding problem areas are important when dressing for any event. Cinching a dress at the waist really is forgiving on almost everyone,” he says.

Look polished
Tailored clothes help your professional image, but they’re pointless if you’re going to show up looking as if you just pulled your suit out of the bottom of the hamper. (Note: Always make sure your clothes are clean a few days before your interview so you’re not actually pulling your suit out of the bottom of the hamper.)

“Once you’ve nailed your best fit, always be sure your pieces are properly pressed before heading to the office or an interview. Showing up in clean, nonwrinkled apparel shows you care about your appearance and yourself,” Kneen says. No-iron, wrinkle-free shirts and pants are also good for job seekers who don’t always have the time to drop their clothes at the cleaners.

Keep it subtle
As a rule of thumb, what you wear should not be more memorable than what you say during the interview. In some fields, such as interior design, fashion and hair styling, it’s often acceptable — and in some cases, preferred — to show attention to trends and take risks with your wardrobe. For most fields, however, employers prefer their workers to dress on the side of caution. Basic black or blue suits and skirts are safe bets for an interview, as they’re unlikely to raise any eyebrows. That doesn’t mean your wardrobe must be devoid of personality, however.

“Too much color and pattern can come across as too trendy or bold, especially for an interview,” Kneen says. “Solid, muted colors are always best for interview apparel and can be punched up with a bright necklace, tie or even belt.”

Use those accessories to personalize your attire and demonstrate your attention to detail and good judgment. Yes, an interviewer will certainly remember the interviewee who wears a paisley suit, but she is probably more likely to hire the job seeker who wore the black suit with the paisley tie.

Keep the skin to a minimum
There are no universal rules for workplace wardrobes, but you can usually assume that employers don’t want you to bare too much skin in the workplace. Even before you’re hired, employers want to know you have good judgment, which means dressing as if you’re already on the job — or at least dressing cautiously until you know how lax the company’s dress code is.

“If you’re sporting a shorter hemline, be conscious of proportions and wear a higher-neck or long-sleeve blouse, and if you’re going sleeveless or strapless, keep your hemlines on the lengthier side,” Kneen says. For men, most interview attire doesn’t lend itself to showing too much skin. Still, jeans, shorts and tank tops are too casual for most workplaces and are more suitable for a visit to the beach, not an interview.

An interview is your chance to show an employer that you’re the candidate who has the skills, personality and judgment to work within an organization and represent the brand. When choosing the right clothes for the interview, your goal is to display your professionalism and a little personality without overshadowing your qualifications. If you follow these simple guidelines, you won’t have to worry about your wardrobe, and instead, you can focus on preparing answers that will land you the job.


Every time you encounter another person, think: help this person. It’s not altruistic. Nothing else can so quickly supercharge your career and improve the quality of your life.

When you walk into Starbucks for a coffee, think help this person about the barista who serves you. Instead of being frustrated that he isn’t moving fast enough, see if you can make him smile. Better yet, tell him to keep the change.

When the phone rings on a busy day, don’t get frustrated by the interruption. Think help this person while you answer the phone. Doing so will change your demeanor, your thought process, and the entire interaction.

If you have a subordinate who isn’t pulling her weight, instead of criticizing her, every time you see her think help this person. This doesn’t mean let her slide, or ignore her shortcomings. It means help her either improve her skills or find a position better suited to her strengths. But don’t just brush her aside; really help her.

But wait a minute – I know what some of you are thinking. What about the people who take credit for other people’s work? What about the rich and powerful who have gotten that way by crushing others? Doesn’t their success prove me wrong?

Not at all. Sure, there are some people who take the exact opposite strategy. But it takes real skill and focus to succeed by being evil, and most of us just don’t have the fortitude to pull it off. For those of us with a soul and a heart, the only real choice is to succeed by helping others.

By first thinking help this person, you will change the ways that others perceive you. There is no faster or more effective way to change your interactions and relationships. You will be viewed as a positive, constructive, helpful and dependable person. People will think you are more perceptive, attentive and understanding.

That’s why this way of thinking is not altruistic; it is selfish, in the best sense of the word. The single best way to help yourself is to always be looking for ways to help other people. Sure, you’ll be making the world a better place, and in the course of your life you will help many thousands of people. But don’t do it because you ought to, or because it’s the “right” thing to do.

Think help this person because you’re selfish, and proud of it.



CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT – Any employee who works at ASPM permanently or as a temporary and refers the most candidates who are placed at ASPM will win $100.  Contest starts June 10th and ends July 8th.  Contact the BarryStaff office for more details.