Are jeans part of an acceptable interview outfit?

You have only a few seconds to make a good first impression when you walk in for your job interview. Often, nonverbal cues can make all the difference — your handshake, the energy you give off, making eye contact, your confident smile, and your wardrobe

The minute a hiring manager sees you, they're looking you up and down to determine if you care enough to be there and land the job. That means ditching the jeans and opting for something a little more upgraded.     

Can I wear jeans to an interview?

While several organizations opt for a business casual dress code for their employees, it's important not to confuse business casual with actual casual wear. It's also essential to keep in mind that during an interview, you are not yet an employee; your goal is to become an employee. 

Even if an organization has a more laid-back dress code that includes wearing jeans to the office, it does not mean you should wear jeans for your interview, regardless of the type of position you're interviewing for. You might be asking:  

  • I'm applying for a part-time job, so jeans are cool — right?

  • Are jeans OK to wear for an entry-level or student job interview?

  • My job is hourly, and I'd be wearing jeans to work, so why not for the interview?

  • I'm interviewing with a tech company, so jeans should totally be OK to wear, right?

The answer? It's best to err on the side of caution. The answer isn't always cut and dry, but jeans are generally never appropriate interview attire, even if you're a student, you're applying for a part-time or hourly wage job, or you're interviewing with a tech company. 

It's true that you don't want to show up in a suit for your interview if everyone else in the office is wearing business casual or jeans, but you also don't want to give off the impression that you're too laid back or don't care enough by underdressing.  

What should acceptable interview attire look like?

While some individuals may still land the job even if they wear jeans, why risk it? Unless you're explicitly asked to wear jeans, choose to go with business casual attire when interviewing with an organization that has a more laid-back dress code. In doing so, you will be setting yourself up to make a good first impression without worrying about whether or not you're underdressed.

Generally speaking, avoid wearing bright colors and patterns to an interview; white, navy, black, grey, and beige are appropriate and professional interview colors. And neat, wrinkle-free clothing that fits well is essential, regardless of the dress code.

Meanwhile, men and women should wear suits for interviews with organizations that have a business formal dress code. For business casual and laid-back work environments, dress pants or a knee-length skirt with a tucked-in blouse are good choices for women, while men could opt for a polo shirt or sweater with slacks. For shoes, they should be clean and closed-toed (no sandals!) for everyone, unless they are open-toed pumps or high-heels for women.   

So, if you're asking yourself, "Can I wear jeans to an interview?", you might wish to persuade yourself not to do so if you have hopes of making it beyond the interview.  

Your interview outfit is just one way to impress the interviewer. Make sure you impress in the rest of your interview with the help of our interview coaches

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