What Shoes to Wear to an Interview: The Ultimate Guide

by jacky chou
Updated on

When you have a job interview, the way you dress says a lot about you. Your choice of shoes is no exception. Check out our guide to find the perfect pair of shoes to make the best impression.

What Shoes to Wear to an Interview: The Ultimate GuideCheckout this video:

The Different Types of Interviews

An interview can generally be defined as a meeting between two people (usually a candidate and an employer) with the purpose of the employer assessing the suitability of the candidate for a role. Depending on the company, job, and location, interviews can vary widely in both their structure and format. Here are some of the most common types of interviews that you may come across.

One-on-one interviews
The most common type of interview, a one-on-one interview is usually between a candidate and either a hiring manager or recruiter. One-on-one interviews give both parties the chance to ask and answer questions freely, without interruption. They also tend to be less formal than other types of interviews, making them a good opportunity for candidates to get to know their potential future employer on a more personal level.

Panel interviews
A panel interview is exactly what it sounds like: an interview conducted by a panel of people, rather than just one interviewer. Panel interviews can be daunting for candidates, as they not only have to impress multiple people at once but also have to keep track of different questions from different people. However, panel interviews do have their benefits — they allow employers to get multiple opinions on a candidate in one go, which can be helpful when making a hiring decision.

Group interviews
Similar to panel interviews, group interviews involve multiple candidates being interviewed at the same time by a group of interviewers. Group interviews are most commonly used by employers in customer-facing industries such as retail and hospitality, as they give employers the chance to see how candidates interact with both other candidates and customers. Group interviews can also be used as an assessment tool — employers may ask candidates to work on a task together as part of the interview process in order to assess their teamwork skills.

Phone/video call interviews
With more and more companies offering remote working options, phone or video call interviews are becoming increasingly common. These types of interviews are usually conducted early on in the recruitment process (before inviting candidates for an in-person interview) as they offer a quick and easy way for employers to screen large numbers of candidates in a short space of time. Phone/video call interviews also have the added benefit of being less expensive and time-consuming for both parties than in-person meetings

Business Casual vs. Business Formal

One of the most popular questions we receive here at The Muse is, “What should I wear to my interview?”

After all, first impressions matter—a lot. And while you want to make sure you dress the part, you don’t want to come across as trying too hard or, on the other end of the spectrum, not trying at all.

So, how do you strike the perfect balance? By understanding the difference between business casual and business formal dress codes and what type of interview you’re attending.

What to Wear to a Phone Interview

Your choice of clothing for a phone interview should be based on two criteria: comfort and professionalism. You want to be comfortable so you can focus on the conversation, but you also want to project an image of competence and confidence.

The best way to achieve both objectives is to dress as you would for a face-to-face meeting with the interviewer. If you would wear a suit or other professional attire, do so. If you normally dress more casually for work, that’s fine, too. The important thing is to avoid anything that would make you feel or look unprofessional.

Some people recommend dressing up even for a phone interview, on the theory that it will make you feel more confident and help you project a positive image. There’s no harm in doing this, but it’s not necessary. The most important thing is to be comfortable and focused on the conversation, not your clothing.

What to Wear to an In-Person Interview

Your choice of interview attire depends on the type of company and position you are interviewing for. The key is to dress one step above the role you are interviewing for. This shows that you are serious about the opportunity and have taken the time to research the company culture.

If you are unsure about what to wear, it is always better to err on the side of being too formal than too casual. You can always take off a jacket or wear less jewelry if you find that you are overdressed, but it is much harder to remedy being underdressed.

Below is a guide to help you choose the right outfit for your next in-person interview.

What to Wear to a Group Interview

A group interview is an interview that you have with more than one interviewer. It is important to remember that you are being evaluated the entire time and should dress appropriately.

The best way to dress for a group interview is to wear clothing that is professional and makes you look confident. You want to avoid wearing anything that is too casual or would make you look unprofessional. It is also important to avoid wearing anything that would make you stand out in a negative way. You want the interviewer to remember you for your qualifications, not your clothing choice.

Here are some specific suggestions for what to wear to a group interview:

-A suit or business casual attire: This shows that you are serious about the position and respect the company enough to dress nicely for the occasion. It will also give you an air of confidence.
-Avoid extreme colors or patterns: You want the focus to be on your qualifications, not your clothing choice. Stick to conservative colors that won’t distract from what you’re saying.
-Make sure your clothing is clean and pressed: This shows that you are put together and take pride in your appearance.
-Don’t forget about hygiene: Make sure your hair is neat, your nails are clean, and you are wearing minimal makeup or cologne/perfume.

How to Dress for a Skype Interview

Whether you’re interviewing for a job, an internship, or a spot in grad school, nailing the Skype interview is essential to success. In addition to preparing mentally for your interview, it’s important to take into consideration what you’ll wear. After all, first impressions matter—even over Skype.

Here are a few tips on what to wear for your next Skype interview:

– Avoid bright colors and patterns: While you want to dress professionally, interviewers will be more focused on what you’re saying than what you’re wearing. Stick to solid colors that won’t distract from your message.
– Consider your backdrop: Your interviewer will be able to see everything behind you, so choose a neutral backdrop and tidy up any loose papers or knick-knacks that might be lying around.
– Wear minimal jewelry: Again, you want the focus to be on your face, not your accessories. Keep jewelry simple and limit yourself to one small piece, like a pair of stud earrings or a delicate necklace.
-Mind your body language: Just because you’re not in the same room as your interviewer doesn’t mean they can’t pick up on your body language. Sit up straight and avoid fidgeting—you want to appear engaged and interested throughout the duration of the interview.

What to Wear to a Second Interview

If you’ve landed a second interview, congratulations are in order! This means the first interview went well and the company would like to learn more about you. Second interviews tend to be more focused, and may be conducted by a panel of interviewers. It’s important to dress one step up from your first interview to show that you’re serious about the opportunity and that you’ve taken their feedback into consideration. Here’s what to wear to a second interview:

For men:
-A suit in a dark color, such as navy or charcoal gray
-A white dress shirt
-A tie
-Dark dress shoes

For women:
-A suit or skirt suit in a dark color, such as navy or charcoal gray
-A blouse or shell in a neutral color
-Pumps or closed-toe shoes in a dark color

How to Dress for an Internship Interview

Dressing for an internship interview can feel confusing because you want to show that you’re serious about the opportunity, but you don’t want to overdress and seem like you’re trying too hard. The key is to find the right balance of professional and approachable.

Here are a few general tips to keep in mind:
– Stick to neutral colors like black, grey, or navy.
– Avoid anything too flashy or attention-grabbing.
– Choose clothing that is wrinkle-free and looks clean and well-pressed.

As for specific items of clothing, a Good rule of thumb is to dress one step up from how you would normally dress for work or class. So, if you usually wear jeans and a t-shirt, try pairing khakis with a button-down shirt or a sundress with a cardigan. If you’re not sure what to wear, it’s always better to err on the side of being too formal rather than too casual.

What Not to Wear to an Interview

In order to make the best impression, you should avoid wearing the following:
-Flip-flops or any other beachwear
-Athletic shoes
-Sandals
-Open-toe shoes
-Stiletto heels
-Torn or dirty shoes
You want to avoid anything that would make you look unprofessional or unprepared.

The Bottom Line

Your shoes will matter more than you may think in an interview. The bottom line is that you should wear shoes that are professional and polished. If you have a unique sense of style, that’s great, but save those shoes for another day. In an interview, it’s best to err on the side of conservatism.

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jacky chou