The Best Color To Wear For a Job Interview

by Sharlyn Lauby on February 5, 2012

One of the best things about LinkedIn are the groups. You can become a part of groups based upon your profession, industry affiliations or interests. I belong to several and it’s fascinating to see the conversations people are engaged in.  For example, there was a huge conversation on one of my groups about the best color to wear on a job interview.  It’s based upon this article by Angela Harris.

business suit, job, interview, job interview, HR, human resources, recruiting, recruiter, colorIt reminded me of a workshop I went to years ago about professional attire. A bunch of us went to hear tips and tricks to look more business-like. The one big takeaway from the workshop was this:

Your wardrobe should not contain all the colors of the rainbow. It should contain the colors you look good in. 

Simple advice, yet how many of us select clothes because “we don’t have something in that color”?  I did it for years! Now my wardrobe contains only the colors that flatter me. Yes, that means I own a lot of olive green and navy blue.

I believe the point of a “best color to wear for a job interview” article should be to say, wear what looks good on you. This applies to both ladies and gentlemen. I have never heard of a recruiter not considering a job candidate because of the specific color they wore to the interview.

On the other hand, I have heard recruiters make comments about clothing that didn’t flatter a person. Not that it stopped a candidate from further consideration…but the clothing was distracting. All the more reason to wear clothing that flatters you; it will not distract from the conversation.

And that’s what the interview is really about…having a good conversation with the company.

What are your thoughts on this? Are there prescribed “interview colors” regardless of the individual?

{ 3 trackbacks }

{ 6 comments }

shana February 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm

As an HR person who works in Silicon Valley, my perspective is that there are no specific interview colors. The concerns I hear about are more around personal hygiene – excessive sweating, odors, unkempt hair, etc. Colors have never come up – but then people here will often wear fairly casual clothes to interviews here. So as long as candidates are decently attired, the interview is more about skills, cultural fit, ability to communicate, etc.
shana recently posted..Weekend Wellness: WWII Era Health Posters

Vardhini February 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

The colors don’t matter as much as appearance. Even in Silicon Valley, I am more impressed by a candidate who makes the extra effort to “dress up” for a job interview. As long as one looks decent and presentable, any color should be fine, even if it means red or pink.

Sharlyn Lauby February 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

@Shana – Thanks for sharing your insights. I agree that proper hygiene is priority one.

@Vardhini – Being able to “dress up” for an interview is always good, but I’m not sure it should be a requirement. Unless of course, that’s what you would wear every day on the job. Thanks for the comment!

Leah Railey February 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I had a candidate once show up in a wrinkled white shirt and leather vest (for a fund raising position). Ok, we got past that and brought him back for a 2nd and he wore a turtleneck with a large hole on the shoulder. He didn’t even bother to wear a jacket. Appearance says volumes.

Sharlyn Lauby February 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hi Leah. I agree – worn clothing has no place in an interview. And if the candidate did have a hole in the shirt, a jacket would have covered it.

I’ve interviewed plenty of people who wore just a nicely pressed shirt – no jacket and no tie – and ultimately ended up getting the job. Thanks for sharing your experience.

the IT Skeptic February 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I know just what you mean. I stand there pondering: grey or black? Grey or black? Black shoes or bare feet? so many decisions

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: