What To Wear To An Office Or Administrative Interview

By Chris Kolmar
Aug. 1, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

What you wear to an interview is just as important as what you have written on your resume. Picking the right outfit and looking the part can sometimes be the difference from you getting a job or not.

We have put together a guide for what to wear to an office interview, provided some outfit combinations, and what not to wear to an office interview to help you have a successful interview.

Key Takeaways:

  • It take seven seconds for an interviewer to make their first impression of you.

  • Keep your outfit to neutral colors and if you add color keep it to your accessories.

  • Make sure you pick out your outfit before the interview, and get rid of any stains or wrinkles before going into the interview.

  • If the company tells you a dress code for the interview, make sure to follow it.

What to Wear to an Office or Administrative Interview

How To Dress For an Office Interview

Many companies have their own interview attire and dress code that they will expect to see you in. Usually, when you receive an interview invitation, the company or organization will let you know what they will require you to wear.

  1. Wear business attire. Because you are interviewing for an office or administrative role, chances are they will want you to dress this way. This type of dress code is geared towards clothing that is more neutral and conservative.

    When wearing Business Attire, both men and women are encouraged to wear a suit. Women can also choose to wear either a skirt or pantsuit or a business dress with a blazer if the occasion calls for it. Making a good first impression is crucial to a job interview, and wearing a suit is an excellent way to start. A suit can make you look put together and polished.

  2. Wear neutral colors. It is essential that when choosing a suit, you select one in a neutral color. As mention above, even the tiniest detail is critical. This includes the colors you wear. Neutral shades are considered to be non-threatening and moderate.

    Keep in mind the dress shirt or blouse you choose to wear underneath. Since you are using neutral hues for your suit, you will be able to use more vibrant colors with this clothing article though it is recommended that you wear lighter tones. The following are some examples of neutral colors:

    • Navy Blue

    • Gray

    • Black

    • Beige

    • White

    • Brown

  3. Bright colors or patterns. Try to avoid using anything too busy. After all, you want the interviewer focused on you, not your shirt. Bold prints in a shirt or tie can sometimes come across as loud and overall distracting.

    It is vital that you know your environment. Take this opportunity to display the company’s colors artfully. Using their color scheme can show the organization that you have company spirit. Showcasing these colors will demonstrate that you are willing to put a little more thought and effort into what you are wearing.

    Ways to add color without it being distracting are:

    • An accessories and jewelry

    • With a purse

    • With a briefcase

    • Adding a scarf

  4. Accessories and shoes. For business attire, it would be best if you considered wearing what is known as sensible shoes. These are shoes are comfortable, closed-toe, and usually in a neutral color such as brown or black.

    As for accessories, try to keep things simple. Avoid using anything too distracting, just like with bold prints. You want the interview to be more focused on you rather than what you are wearing.

Be Sure To Look Neat and Put Together

A good rule of thumb is to take the days leading up to the interview to prepare yourself both mentally and sartorially. There is nothing more unsettling for an interviewer than to see a potential candidate be ill-prepared.

  • Pick clean clothes. Before leaving your home make sure that your clothes are clean, stain-free, and steam pressed. This shows insufficient attention to detail, and you can easily be seen as someone that does not care.

    You never know how long an interview will go on, the last thing you want is to be sitting there, and the only thing you can focus on is how awkward you feel. Pick an outfit that fits appropriately — it will help you feel more at ease during the meeting. Nothing too loose can swallow you whole, and nothing too tight and form-fitting that can make you feel uncomfortable.

  • Personal hygiene is also essential. If you need a trim or a haircut, make sure to get it done the day before, at the very least.

    Your hair should be styled neatly and away from your face. If you have long hair, try pinning it back, perhaps in a bun, or half-updo. You want the interviewer to be able to see your face.
    Men know that it is alright that you have facial hair for an interview, but be sure to comb it and give it a proper trim.

  • Makeup and perfume. If you choose to wear make-up, try to use something natural. Remember, in this case, less is always more. When wearing perfume and cologne it should not be too overpowering. You never know if someone might be allergic to what you are wearing.

What You Should Not Wear To An Office or Administrative Interview

Though you might be tempted to wear your lucky shirt to an interview if this is not a formal business shirt, try to refrain from using it.

Many companies have a strict dress policy, and you will need to make sure that you follow it. It would be in your best interest if you try to avoid the following:

  • Wearing denim

  • Shorts

  • Low-cut dress

  • Revealing top

  • Cropped tops

  • Athleisure

  • Short skirts

  • Sandals or sneakers

  • Tight or form-fitting clothing

  • Bold Jewelry

  • Sheer Fabric

  • Joggers

  • Sweatshirts

  • Hoodies

Example Outfit Combinations for Office or Administrative Interview

There are many combinations of clothing you can try to wear for an interview. However, you should remember that there are at least four staples you should always wear. A well-fitting suit, a crisp, clean shirt, sensible shoes, and briefcase or business portfolio. Here are some outfit combinations that might work in your favor:

  1. One of the most classic looks you can have during an interview is a black suit and a crisp white shirt. Combine this with some small statement pieces such as an elegant blue neck-tie or some gold jewelry. Black is considered a sophisticated color. It is recommended to wear this color for formal business meetings and interviews.

  2. Wearing a grey suit with a black or white shirt is also a great way to project yourself as a refined and elegant person that knows what they want. Pair this with a black pair of shoes and perhaps a red accessory.

  3. When asked, many hiring managers preferred to see candidates wearing a blue suit. Blue is a color that many associate with trust and confidence. It is a great color to use with a pattern shirt or blouse. Just remember to choose a pattern with a small print. As for the shoes, brown goes great with blue.

  4. Though it might go against your better judgment, you can consider mixing colors. The great thing about neutral colors is that they can go with anything. Try putting a light grey blazer with a white shirt and black trousers.

Final Thoughts

Remember, their first impressions are everything. What you wear for an interview can determine whether or not you get the job. Heed the company’s advice and try to match the company’s dress code. If you are unsure of what you should wear, do not be afraid to ask the person who is interviewing the type of attire that would be appropriate to wear for the interview to avoid anything too risky or inappropriate.

Wearing the right outfit can help boost your confidence and make you feel like you can take on the world. It can be the difference between you and any other candidate.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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