How to Figure Out What to Wear in a Job Interview

Wednesday, 07 March
Comp Applicants Waiting For Job Interview

It can be tricky to figure out what to wear in an interview, especially if you usually get your hands dirty on the job. You want to look appropriate but, obviously, not like you would be out on a site. You can be overdressed as easily as you can be underdressed, so the key is to be like Goldilocks and get it just right.

In general, we’d advise you to dress for the job that is just one step up on the ladder than what you’re applying for. This approach will reflect that you have respect and want to grow in your career, but that you’re still a fit for this job. In order to do that, however, you need to understand the standard culture and dress at that specific company. Here are some ways to find out:


If it’s possible (and not too late), ask the coordinator or hiring supervisor when you get the details on the interview date and time. A simple email reply with something like “I’m excited to speak with you soon, what would you suggest I wear?” would be very effective and non-offensive.

 Get the inside scoop

If you know anybody else that works there, ask them what the standard office garb is. Or talk to anyone you know who has been to their office or works with their personnel regularly. They likely could give you some great information; even an impression or guess can give you tremendous insight.

Spy on ‘em

Stop by the office in advance, to see what people are wearing. You’ll be more likely to catch people coming or going if you make a visit at the beginning or end of a typical work day. If that’s not possible, you could do an online search; check out their website, LinkedIn profiles, or pictures on social media.

Go down the middle

If all else fails, wear something that looks nice but not too formal. We suggest a casual shirt and sport coat, without a tie. For pants, go with some khakis or even dark-colored jeans. This look would work for many situations, unless you are applying for an upper management position.


And don’t forget to groom a little before you go! Trim the nose hairs, clean your nails, and brush your teeth too. Skipping these seemingly little details could cost you the job.


If all else fails, give Madden a call! We might know someone on staff – or at least understand what their culture is like – and can give you some great advice on what to wear. And if you’re looking for a job in the trades, we can help you find you the position that matches your skills and schedule.

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