Can you wear jeans to an interview?

Debate: Is it okay to wear jeans to a job interview?

Nicole Wray|

Michael Valentino wore jeans to his last job interview.

“You feel more confident if you’re in the right clothes,” he said. Valentino works in the digital media industry, which he says is “particularly casual.”

Valentino wore jeans paired with a nice shirt, blazer and dress shoes. He got the job.

Carly-Anne Fairlie, a recruitment consultant at IQ Partners Inc., advises otherwise.

“You should never wear jeans to an interview,” says Fairlie.

Although industries like advertising, marketing and public relations may have a lenient interview dress code, be sure to dress more formally than the everyday office norm.

“What is interview appropriate really depends on the culture of the company. If you’re going into an ad agency or other creative industry office, most of the time people won’t wear a suit and tie,” she says. “But you have to be careful and always make sure that you are thinking business casual and not out with friends casual.”

Wearing the right interview outfit can boost your confidence and help you make a good impression, so don’t be afraid to ask about the office dress code if you’re unsure. A phone screening or pre-interview email is an appropriate time to ask, according to Fairlie.

10 seconds to sell yourself

Studies say that many interviewers know within the first few seconds if you’re right for the job, which is why your outfit choice isn’t one to make hastily. Not only should your clothes fit your body well, your outfit should fit the company’s culture.

You wouldn’t want to show up to an interview wearing jeans and a T-shirt if the interviewer was wearing a suit and tie. Similarly, you may not want to wear a suit and tie if the interviewer is wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Dressing formally, but in line with a company’s culture, will help your interviewer see how you’ll fit into their team.

The power suit has its place (you better wear it to that interview at the bank), but with hoodies now the fashion choice of tech tycoons and casual everyday a reality for many, office attire is not as stuffy as it once was. Michael Valentino took a risk that paid off, but you should probably leave the Levi’s at home.

But whatever you do – remember to wear pants to the job interview. Of course, research has shown that women fare better at job interviews if they wear a skirt.

What is your go-to interview outfit? Do you dress according to the company’s culture? Tell us in the comments.


Category: Job interviews, Student,