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3 Tips on How to Dress for an Interview

Interviewing with a criminal record is frustrating for many reasons. At Honest Jobs, we are here to help you connect with second-chance employers who are willing to hire ex-felons with the aim to reduce the uncertainty and stress throughout the hiring process. However, being prepared for an interview is one of the most important parts of proving that you are truly interested in working for the company and you are the right fit for the job. As part of a series of blog posts, first, we would like to share some tips on how to dress for an interview to make a good first impression on your interviewees.

While there are no absolute rules, you should always dress for the position you want, not the position you are currently in. Since interviews are formal situations, a clean and neat professional appearance is an important step in making a good first impression. It does not matter what role you are applying for, you should always make sure that your clothes are clean, fit well, and are not wrinkled or stained.

What to wear?

The best outfit will depend on the type of job and the company you are interviewing with. Before your interview, you can visit the company to see how people dress on an everyday basis. That way, you can show up to the interview conveying that you understand the type of role and the environment. For example, interviewing for a corporate job will most likely require you to show up in formal business wear. However, there are plenty of jobs, such as working in a fast-food restaurant or a factory, where business casual style is completely acceptable for the interview.

Felony-friendly job search, dressing for an interview.
The best outfit will depend on the type of job and company you are interviewing for. Link:

Don't wear these items to your interview!

Regardless of the formality of the workplace, there are items that you should never wear to an interview, even if you think they would be acceptable to wear on the job, because they could significantly lower your possibility to make a good first impression. You want the hiring managers to focus on what you say, not on what you wear.

Items to avoid:

  • Denim/Jeans

  • Shorts

  • Leggings, sweatpants, or yoga pants

  • T-Shirts

  • Tank tops

  • Crop tops

  • Flip flops, sandals, tennis/running shoes

  • Very short, tight, or low-cut clothing

  • Too much perfume or cologne

  • Too many jewelry items

  • Sunglasses

  • Hats or headwear (except for religious or cultural purposes)

  • Ripped or wrinkled items

Some must-have items

Having at least one business-appropriate outfit that fits you perfectly will save you a lot of time and stress before your interview. As long as your clothes are clean and fit well, there is no need to spend a lot of money on them. Your wardrobe should include the following items:

Dressing for a felony-friendly job interview.

For Men:

Formal (Corporate, Banking, Office)

  • Gray, black, or navy suit

  • A long-sleeved, white, collared shirt

  • Clean, polished, dark-colored conservative dress shoes

  • Conservative tie that matches your suit

  • Socks matching your suit and shoes

  • Plain belt matching your suit

Casual (Manufacturing, Logistics, Food Service, etc.)

  • Short or long-sleeved button-down or polo shirt

  • Khakis or trousers

  • Clean shoes or boots

Dressing for a felony-friendly job interview.

For Women:

Formal (Corporate, Banking, Office)

  • Gray, black, or navy pantsuits or skirt suits (skirts should at least reach the top of your knee)

  • A long-sleeved, white, collared shirt

  • Neutral-toned or sheer black hosiery

  • Closed-toe shoes that are no higher than 1 1/2 inches

Casual (Manufacturing, Logistics, Food Service, etc.)

  • Short or long-sleeved collared shirt

  • Trousers or a skirt that goes to at least the knee

  • Closed-toe flats

Many organizations collect clothing donations for working adults. If you need help getting work clothes, check out resources like Goodwill and Salvation Army in your area.



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