How NOT to dress for a job interview and tips for how TO dress from SNAP book on First Impressions

How to dress to NOT get the job.

1.      Dress casually so you will be comfortable rather than show respect for the company and the interviewer in fact, look rumpled, like you just got out of bed.
2.      Wear something out of style so it looks like you are unaware of what is new in the business world. Big lapels and polyester and shoes with worn down heels.
3.      Dress up, go way over the top, make your interviewer feel like your underling. For guys, that means a three pieced Armani suit and Rolex if you’re being interviewed for a low level position and for women that means a Channel or Amani four hundred dollar pair of shoes and lots of expensive jewelry for a low level job.
4.       Show off your toes by wearing sandals, flip flops are a future boss favorite, they love hearing the smack, smack, smack they make in the hallways.
5.       If you’re a man make sure your shoes need polishing so it looks like you really need the job.
6.       If you’re a woman were lots of makeup, heavy on the eye shadow and liner and jingling jewelry especially bracelets and rings that make shaking hands with your interviewer a challenge and a sound carnival.

If you know me, you know that sarcasm is not my typical way of speaking or writing, but it boggles the mind to see and hear from my corporate and small business owner clients the tales of how people dress for job interviews. You want to get the job, here are dressing tips from my book SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma.

Excerpt from SNAP
In an interview, you are dressing to show respect for the
company and the interviewer. The culture of the company you
are interviewing with matters. The general guideline is to dress
one or two levels up from whatever would be appropriate for
the day-to-day work environment in that particular office,
and no more than two levels down or up from the interviewer’s
If you are older and you overdress for an
interview, your employer may interpret that as your being
out of touch with the current culture in other ways. Keep in
mind that it is perfectly okay to ask in advance what the appropriate
attire would be for the interview. You can incorporate
this question into initial conversations or emails with the
interviewer, along with other inquiries such as a request for
directions to the office. Strive to be fashion current in colors, style,
and jewelry, including your watch. If you aren’t sure what is current
in professional clothing, read an appropriate men or women’s style
magazine or go to a high-end clothing or department store and
look around to see what is in style.  

To prepare for a big interview, Madeline picked out a conservative
pinstriped jacket and skirt that she had recently purchased
on sale. She carefully clipped off all the tags and checked out the
fit in front of her mirror. On her interview day, she shook hands
with her interviewer, a man in his forties with gray sideburns.
During their conversation, Madeline noticed that “Mr. Gray”
frequently tilted his head and body to her right side. Though
she thought it was odd, she didn’t mention it, assuming he had
a bad back and was trying to make himself comfortable. When
she got into her car, she realized that the side seam in her new
skirt had come apart — revealing more of her in her interview
than she had intended! Lesson: Don’t just try on your interview
outfit. Move around in it, sit and stand in it, even consider having
a friend take a picture of you wearing it. And by all means,
check the seams.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at