What to wear to an internship interview?

What to wear to an internship interview?

No matter what kind, an internship interview is probably the first step into a world of cut-throat competition and survival of the fittest. This is why, the first internship interview in all of our lives become such memorable experiences, in either of the two ways- disastrous, or immensely pleasing. But no matter which kind it is, one thing is for sure. It stays. Both as a life lesson, and as an experience. Thus, an internship interview being such an inevitably memorable part of our life, is it not totally natural, to want it to be rewarding and good? Here, we’ll know What to wear to an internship interview?

And, to ensure that, there are very many factors that one needs to keep in mind. Amongst all those, the attire, definitely takes the position of being considered as one of the first caution grounds, because believe it or not, an interview outfit can affect your overall impression pretty intensely, and completely change the course of your selection or rejection. And to help you with that tedious process of selection and rejection and to ensure that you don’t make any major mistakes, we are here!

What kind of attire should I wear?

Well, this is the first question you should be asking when you go about choosing your internship interview outfit. Now, to begin with, one must understand that the kind of job positions that offer internships are usually ones that have a formal ambiance to them. And thus, no matter which position you are applying for, business formal is the best kind of outfit to go with, and depending upon the formality the company demands, business casual. 

For example, if you are being interviewed as an intern at an already established company that has been in business for a long time, there should be no space for doubt in choosing a business formal outfit. But, say you are being interviewed as an internship candidate at a startup, and the company is working as a close-knit group of few people, then business casual is the call. Listed below are the possible outfit choices and pairings for both options.

Business Formal

Guidelines for men:

Jeff Bezos Career Advice
Jeff Bezos Career Advice

  • A single-breasted two-piece suit is a perfect choice for your internship interview.
  • They can be tailored or store-bought, it does not really matter unless they are a misfit.
  • Make sure your outfit is the right size and fits you well.
  • Avoid three-piece suits.
  • Make sure your suit is a solid color in a muted shade and does not have a fancy pattern.
  • The shirt you wear must also be a neutral shade, or a light pastel, depending on the color of your suit. White is the safest choice.
  • Avoid pattern printed shirts, but if unavoidable, stick to light and sober checks.
  • Pick out a sober tie, and avoid noisy patterns and bow ties at all costs.
  • Make sure all your tattoos are covered and all body piercings removed.

Guidelines for women-

  • A skirt suit or a pantsuit (based on your personal preference) is the best choice and the ones you should choose from.
  • Make sure whichever of the two you choose, is of a dark/mutes/neutral color and does not have patterns.
  • The shirt or blouse you choose to pair your suit with, must be a solid color, in opaque fabric, and a proper fit. The color of your blouse can be a light pastel or dark earth tones, depending on the color of your suit.
  • Make sure your blouse is not a misfit, especially if it is a button-up shirt. Make sure there are no visible gaps between your buttons.
  • If you choose to wear tights with your skirt, make sure they do not have visible holes or ladders.
  • The skirt you choose must be below the knee in length.
  • Make sure all your tattoos are covered and all body piercings removed.

Business Casual

Guidelines for men:

  • A buttoned-up crisp formal shirt with long sleeves and collars tucked in a decent pair of slacks/chinos/tailored trousers is the best choice.
  • Your chinos/slacks must be very basic and sober and not a style statement.
  • The shirt you choose must be preferably mono-color, with the only leniency of light checks.
  • The bottoms must match well with the shirt in terms of color.
  • Casual T-shirts and graphic t-shirts must be avoided at all costs.
  • The colors of your outfit must not be loud. Avoid bright green, red, or lemon yellow, and noisy patterns. Go with muted tones and very light pastels, the best are earthy tones and neutral tones.
  • Make sure all your tattoos are covered and body piercings are removed.

Guidelines for women:

  • A pair of tailored slacks or a knee-length skirt coupled with a sober button-up shirt is the most appropriate.
  • If you choose to wear tights with your skirt, make sure there are no visible holes or ladders.
  • The blouse you choose must be sober and the fabric must be opaque.
  • Make sure your blouse is not a misfit, especially if it is a button-up shirt. Make sure there are no visible gaps between your buttons.
  • A shift dress paired with a fit jacket also makes for a fine choice.
  • All skirts and dresses should reach below the knee in length.
  • Whichever outfit you choose in the end, they must not be in bright shades of red, yellow, or fluorescents. Go with earthy tones or muted pastels.
  • Make sure to cover up tattoos, and remove all body piercings.

Wear your shoes right!

As a part of your complete outfit, shoes play a very important factor in your overall presentation. They are a sensitive area to take care of since they can either make your outfit glow with confidence or take it into the wardrobe malfunction zone.

Guidelines for men:

  • For your internship interview, it is best to wear a polished pair of leather shoes.
  • Even in your business casual attire, a pair of polished leather shoes work the best.
  • Any variety of shoe you choose must be a close-toe one.
  • The color of your shoe must not be anything other than black or dark brown.
  • And even if you think socks will not be visible and hence can allow the leniency of thoughtlessness, you are wrong. Wear proper socks as well, because one accidental glimpse at a worn-out faded sock anyhow, can make your hard-built image crumble to pieces.
  • Do NOT wear sandals, slippers, sliders, or any other informal type of shoe to your interview.

Guidelines for women:

  • A pair of black or brown closed-toe flats are the best option to consider.
  • Wedges or pumps can be worn, provided they are close-toe.
  • Stick to heels between 2-4cms. 
  • Any shoe that you choose must be close-toe
  • Do not get carried away with prints. Avoid snakeskin prints or any such at your interview.
  • Do NOT wear sandals/slippers/sliders at your interview. In fact, avoid anything open-toe altogether.

On Hair, accessories, and touchups.

Apart from your clothes and shoes, accessories can add a touch of originality, if used right, and the hair and touch-ups can speak volumes for themselves, and basically make you an open book to your interviewers. Thus, it is equally important to take care of them, even if they seem unimportant!

Guidelines for men:

  • If you have short hair, it should be combed properly, and must not look shabby. 
  • If you have long that can come into a bun, it is best to have it cut and groomed if it is a strictly formal job.
  • Do not go to your interview with bleached/neon dyed hair
  • Avoid wearing rings (if not an engagement/marriage ring) or any other wrist ornaments as fashion statements
  • A watch, if sober and simple, and fits in well with the complete outfit, add a bit of originality. It starts to speak of your taste in a way. 
  • Do not go overboard with the accessories.
  • Do not put on very strong perfumes or too much of a light one. But make sure you smell fresh.
  • Make sure all of your tattoos are covered and visible piercings removed.

Guidelines for women:

  • If you have shoulder-length hair, make sure it is combed properly and baby hairs held back with black clips
  • If you have longer hair, make sure it is made into a ponytail.
  • Do not wear gaudy accessories like heavy bracelets/rings/earrings.
  • Make sure your hair is not dyed very visibly.
  • A sober watch is always welcome, make sure they are not fashioned statements.
  • As for touch-ups, keep them to a very minimum. Do not go overboard with your makeup. A thin layer of foundation and a light blush should be more than enough.
  • Do not put too much perfume, but make sure you smell fresh and not sweaty.
  • Make sure your nails are sober if painted. Make sure to tone down your nail art before your interview.

Do Your Research 

Yes, that’s right! Even when it comes to the outfit, make sure you do your research. Have a basic idea of the company’s work environment, what workers usually wear to the office, whether they have an assigned dress code, etc. This will give you an idea of what the company expects of you as an intern, outfit-wise. 

This step is very important because, in an internship interview, it is very important to show your effort. Your interviewers will look out for how much research you have done for your interview which in turn will express your extent of eagerness for the job. It will be very effective in impressing your interviewers if you are able to reflect your efforts in your outfit.

Some general tips.

Apart from the specific tips, there are certain things that one needs to keep in mind while preparing for an interview.

  • Wear freshly washed and ironed clothes that do not smell. 
  • Take a bath and groom yourself as required before the interview. 
  • Do not use too much cologne or perfume. 
  • Have a good rest the day before and arrive at your interview fresh and bright. A drowsy face will be by no means helpful.  
  • Take note of whether the position you are applying for has an already assigned uniform by the Company. If so, take extra care to NOT imitate the exact uniform or the color palette. Choosing a color palette that resembles the uniform makes you look like you already consider yourself a part of the company, which carries a very negative impression since it only makes you look arrogant and overconfident. It is very important to appear humble at an interview.
  • It is okay, however, to keep the style the same. For example, if the assigned uniform for female workers is slack and shirt, it might be good to not wear a skirt or a dress at the interview. While there is no such explicit scope for male workers to imitate only the style because it will just eventually match, women have the freedom to choose. And this is completely optional.
  • Carry your resume in proper briefcases or smart laptop bags. Avoid tote bags, transparent files, or fancy handbags.
  • Choose the kind of attire that makes you feel confident and one that fits well. An ill-fit dress will only prompt you to adjust them every once in a while, making you appear fidgety and anxious.
  • Do not try too hard to impress your interviewers with the dress alone. The outfit is an important aspect, yes, but that is not the absolute determining factor in you getting the job or being rejected. 
  • Keep your touch-ups to a minimum but do not avoid them altogether.
  • And above all, be decent, sober, and presentable in any outfit you choose.

Frequently asked questions

  1. As a plus-size woman/man, what should I wear to an internship interview?

The general guidelines in choosing the right outfit for an interview remain the same for any kind of body type because the key is to look decent. If you are a plus-size person, all you need to do to ensure that is pick out something that is loose-fit and does not fit snugly on your body. 

  1. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, what should I wear to an internship interview?

You being a member of the LGBTQ+ community does not impose any further limitation on the attire you choose. Wear the clothes that you identify with the most, and follow the general guidelines!

  1. Can I wear Jeans to an internship interview? 

No, wearing jeans to an internship interview will only make you look unprofessional, and will get you rejected eventually if not instantly. Avoid your jeans for an internship interview and go with business casual or business formal outfits.

What to wear to an internship interview?

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