How Being Overdressed for An Interview Can Negatively Affect Your Chances Of Landing The Job

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Once you schedule an in-person interview, these are just some of the questions that might be swimming in your head: What if you show up to your interview and you’re either over or underdressed? Will it even make that much of a difference? How bad is it to be overdressed for an interview?

According to data released in the 2013 Job Interview Anxiety Survey, 92% of employed Americans get stressed out about job interviews, but it’s not just the actual interview that stresses people out. Figuring out what to wear for your next interview can often become just as stress inducing as wondering what questions they will ask you.

With the rise of startups and tech companies, figuring out what to wear for your next interview has become more confusing than ever, but these tips will help you navigate the process with ease.

How bad is it to be overdressed for an interview?

Really bad.

If you’re interviewing at a company known for their low maintenance dress code and company culture, showing up to your interview in a suit will show that you haven’t done your research on the company and the environment. Even worse, showing up in a suit could mean that you did research the company and didn’t care about the dress code and rules.

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What can you do to ensure that you’re properly dressed?

Research the company to figure out what the company culture is like. Company culture often dictates the dress code and how formal or casual people will dress. Use websites like Glassdoor to your advantage. These platforms allow users to rate and comment on companies, giving you inside knowledge about the company culture, and what it’s really like to work there. Often people will discuss dress code and the general vibe of the office.

Another option is to search for employees on LinkedIn. Observe what employees are wearing in their LinkedIn profile photos to get a better indication of the daily dress code.

Finally, if all else fails, pick up the phone and ask someone what you should wear or what the general dress code is. This is something so simple, yet almost no one does this. If you want to make sure that you won’t be overdressed for an interview, simply pick up the phone and call the front desk or a recruiter that you’re working with.

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If the dress code is really casual, stick with the guidelines, but ensure that you look put together and ready for work.

This is the most important thing to remember when you’re figuring out what to wear for your next interview. I always suggest being a step above the dress code, but if you do decide that it would be in your best interest to come completely casual, just make sure that you look put together. Regardless if the dress code is super casual, you do not want to look like you just rolled out of bed. You’re still interviewing for a job.

If you do decide to go with jeans, make sure they are dark wash jeans without any rips or tears. Similarly, if you opt for a t-shirt, make sure that it is clean, plain without graphics or logos, and wrinkle free. If you don’t like to iron, (I hate ironing!) invest in a mini steamer. It will change your life and make it super simple to get the wrinkles out of any of your clothes.

There is a big difference between a plain, wrinkle free t-shirt and dark wash jeans than a dirty graphic t-shirt and ripped jeans. While they are essentially the same items, they look drastically different, and will make a completely different impression upon others, especially in an interview.

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How bad is it to be overdressed for an interview? Depending on the company it could be detrimental and could be the reason why you don’t get the job. Showing up completely overdressed suggests that you didn’t research the company and have not paid any attention to the company culture.

Employers want to ensure that they hire employees who will fit in with the general office vibe, and coming to an interview overdressed can be a major red flag. When you’re determining what to wear for your next interview, do some research on the company dress code and company culture, and dress accordingly. With the rise of business casual and completely casual dress codes, figuring out what to wear for your next interview can be tricky, however if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be good to go!

Good luck!

By: Michele Lando


A native San Franciscan, Michele Lando is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and founder of writestylesonline.com. She has a passion for helping others present the best version of themselves, both on paper and in person, and works to polish individuals' application package and personal style. Aiming to help create a perfect personal branding package, Write Styles presents tips to enhance your resume, style, and boost your confidence.

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