What colours to wear to a job interview | Women's Agenda

What colours to wear to a job interview

We’ve all had a job interview at one time or another and while we carefully iron our clothes that morning, how many of us realise the colours we wear are actually subliminally influencing our prospective employer? Here are 7 tips to interview dressing for positive outcomes.

What do you want to communicate?

  1. The colours you choose depend on the industry you’re interviewing for, and the position you’re after so when thinking about colour you need to consider what you would like to communicate. If you’re going for a position in a conservative industry or environment, then consider a dark neutral like navy blue, which is seen as trustworthy and team it with a light coloured top or shirt in either white, which is crisp and fresh and says you’re organised (though can also be seen as bland or dull), or a light blue which is friendly and safe or green which is fresh and reassuring. The light/dark combination of colours makes you appear as an authority figure and an expert in your field.
  2. If you want to appear more approachable then choose a medium shade of blue or teal, which helps lowers the contrast and makes you appear more conciliatory and friendly.
  3. Avoid colours such as orange, yellow and purple in conservative environments as they are seen as more creative and risky. Pink is another colour that is rife with potential problems. We associate it with femininity and nurturing (which in some positions will work) but for many it can subliminally be considered weak (unfortunately!), which is not what you want to convey in an interview.
  4. Black is powerful, but not necessarily the best choice for an interview as it can create a barrier and is unfriendly unless you team it with a blue top which conveys trustworthiness. Instead consider choosing a shade of grey that’s on the darker side for a sophisticated and reputable appearance without the harshness of black.
  5. Deep shades of brown can work if you’re in a caring profession. Brown is seen as dependable, non-judgemental and down-to-earth, but it is not appropriate in the finance or law sectors.
  6. Red is a power colour as it conveys a feeling of energy and red stimulates us. If you’re not careful (or wear too much of it at once) it can be seen as arrogant, but if you are a small build, or tend to be very shy or quiet, it will help to get you noticed and remembered.
  7. Overall, bright colours are seen as fun and that you like to attract attention, but may not be your best option for a job interview as they aren’t seen as trustworthy, unless you work in the children’s services sector, where they may be seen as more appropriate than black or other dark colours.

Before you decide what to wear think about what you want to communicate and who you will be communicating with before you select your job interview outfit. Studies have shown that we remember a coloured experience more than a black and white one, so adding some colour to your outfit rather than wearing all neutrals, can really help you to be remembered by your interviewer.

what colours to wear for a job interview


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