First Interviews & What Not to Wear

A group of IT and executive professionals dressed appropriately for their first interview at an Omaha, Nebraska company.

In the ever-evolving employment landscape, Cordova wants to ensure our candidates are set up for success in any way we can– even in the smallest details, like interview attire. Although this notion might seem outdated, we’ve got numbers to show that taking time to plan an outfit makes an impact. Studies show that 71% of all companies will reject an applicant due to wardrobe, and 65% of hiring managers say that a dress code can be a deciding factor between two similar candidates.

Whether in person or virtually, you want an interviewer to remember you for your qualifications, not necessarily what you wore. Opting for solid colors maintains a polished appearance, but if you’d prefer a pattern for more flair, subtle ones—like a classic pinstripe or houndstooth—can be great options. 

Regarding color, neutrals like navy blue, black, white, and brown are always good choices, but if you want more of a pop of color, cool tones will serve you more than bright, warm shades like red. In an interview with Fast Company,  image and style expert Carol Davidson said, “Red can send less favorable messages about the candidate — that they are domineering, rebellious, and obstinate, for example. There is a fine line between assertive and aggressive, and red is a risky choice for an interview.”

As far as the rest of the rest of it goes– research (if you can) the company’s dress code beforehand and take its culture into account. What does this mean? Button downs for business-casual and blazers for all business. If casual is king, jeans may be in play, but it’s generally best to leave them at home for the first interview, ensuring a stronger first impression. 

Not sure where to start? We can help! Ask our Talent or Client Partners about what you can expect, and we’ll promise to get you off on the right foot (and in some highly recommended shoes).