How to Avoid the Mistake 75% of Millennials Make on Job Interviews

In the ’90s, bigtime tech CEOs started showing up to board meetings in, of all things, jeans. Because they could. They had the brains and the money to get away with it, therefore no one was going to disagree. However, this trickle-down fashion trend does not extend to most people in the business arena. For millennials, who are used to dressing down all around, this often comes as a shock.

In fact, according to a 2012 survey reported in Forbes Magazine, 75% of hiring managers believe the primary interview mistake millennials make is wearing inappropriate interview attire. Moreover, research shows that interviewees have exactly 7 seconds to make a good first impression, and since the first thing an interviewer sees are a person’s clothes, you need to make them count.

When it comes to dressing for an interview, here are a few basic rules to follow:

1) Wear a suit. A suit is a must for an interview, even if you are applying for a job in an environment that is well-known for its casual dress policy. Wearing a suit that you are serious about the job. If you are hired, you can then fine-tune your wardrobe to match the other employees.

2) Pay attention to details. Your suit should not be creased, your shirt should be ironed and your tie knots are perfect. If your suit is old, buy a new one (it doesn’t need to cost you an arm and a leg). If your shoes are scuffed, polish them. This attention to detail to dress gives the impression that you extend the same attention on the job.

3) Be clean. This might be stating the obvious, but you should prepare for an interview the way you prepare for a date — by showering. While above we wrote that the first thing an interviewer sees are your clothes, there is actually something that precedes what you see — what you smell. Need we say more?

4) Don’t wear too much cologne. Wearing cologne is fine, but the smell shouldn’t be overpowering. (See above.) If you are not sure how much cologne is too much, check out our previous blog post.

5) Be well-groomed. If you need a haircut, get it before your interview. Make sure your hair is brushed and your facial hair, if you have any, is trimmed and there is no stubble.

6) Now is not the time to be trendy. While your suit shouldn’t be outdated, an interview is not the best time to go sockless, don your trendy fedora or wear the fun, multicolored dress shirt you just bought (even if it is Calvin Klein). Clothes worn to an interview should be simple and classic: Blue, black or grey suit, with single-colored or lightly striped shirts. And yes, socks that match your pants should definitely be worn. (Golden Rule: No white socks! White socks are for sports and sleeping. Only.) Once you get the job, you’ll have plenty of time to assess whether trendy will go over in that particular office.

7) Take out any piercings, and cover up tattoos. You might be thinking: I don’t want to work in a place that doesn’t let me be myself. And you have a right to think that. But employers also have a right not to hire you, which they can exercise, whether fairly or not, based on your external appearance. So unless you are interviewing at a tattoo parlor, lose the earrings and don’t bare the tattoos.

In addition to making a great first impression, when you dress for success you also give yourself a boost in confidence, which in turn can make you perform better during your interview. In short, there is no downside to dressing well to an interview — you only stand to gain. If you need help choosing the perfect interview suit, check out the Karako Suits website or come to one of our stores, where our expert staff can assist you.

« Countdown: 7 Romantic Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Originally published at on February 17, 2016.