When Jeans are Okay to Wear to an Interview  

Jeans okay to wear in an inteview

When is it okay to wear jeans to an interview?

Historically, a job interview required the common dress code of slacks, a button down top, and a suave jacket.  Time have changed.  While there are still many times when dressing up is appropriate for a job interview, there are the some job interviews where jeans are okay. How do you gauge what to wear and when it’s okay to dress down? When going to an interview it’s important to make a good impression on your potential future employers.  The last thing you want is to have your choice of leg wear determine if you are hired or not.

Although most people don’t enjoy job interviews (who wants to feel like they are being judged?) they are an important process that allows a company to learn more about who you are and allows you to learn more about what the job entails. As part of this process, it is important to create a positive impression by dressing appropriately.

The job type matters

What type of job you are interviewing for matters.  For example, If you’re interviewing for a fast food position, it’s safe to say that jeans will be fine to wear. Consider things like these:

  • Entry level job?
  • Customer-facing?
  • “Blue collar” job?
  • Uniform for this job?

Positions that require formal wear

Obviously, some positions require more formal wear.   Examples would include law offices, political offices, and other “traditional” offices. Dressing down for an interview here would be ill-advised.  These are obvious, and it’s likely not the reason you are reading this.  So what about all the other jobs?

Scout it out

If you can, scout out the company beforehand.  If employees are wearing jeans every day, it is probably safe to wear jeans to an interview.  On the other hand, if employees are wearing more traditional business attire, do yourself a favor and dress to match for your interview. This should be your first step if you are questioning what to wear to your interview.  If you can show up dressed like you already work there, you’ll feel more comfortable through the interview, and your interviewer will be more likely to see you as a good fit in the position you are applying for.

What if you can’t scout it?

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.  It’s always better to err on the side of caution.  If you are unsure if jeans would be okay, dress up to business casual.  It’s better to show up slightly overdressed than too casual.  Try to determine if the company prides themselves on uniqueness, the position requires you to do a lot of communicating with the public, or if the dress code is non existent. If so, it may be okay to break the interviewing rules. Go with your gut and always stay professional, even if you decide to show up in a pair of jeans.

What type of jeans to wear

Many jeans look just like slacks.  If you happen to find a dark pair of jeans from your favorite department store that will pass as slacks, they should work just fine to wear to your interview. Wide leg jeans and trouser jeans are two types of jeans that look professional and trendy. If you wear a button up top or a nice looking blouse  your interviewer probably won’t even notice your jeans.

Unless you are VERY sure that it’s acceptable, your jeans should not have holes in them or be gaudy.  Keep your bling in the closet and wear a pair of jeans that are well-kept and look good.  Comfort and style can always go hand in hand.

Uniqueness over dress code

Occasionally you may interview for a company who encourages uniqueness, and perhaps breaking the dress code is just what you need to get yourself in the door.  Don’t be sloppy or offensive.  Your goal is to make a lasting impression on your interviewers, not offend them.

Companies like Facebook for example have important people who hardly dress up for the job (or special events for that matter), and they still make a good impression.

The final word

Carefully consider what job you are applying for.  If you are questioning if jeans are okay for the interview, they probably are not.  Remember, your goal is to make a good first impression.  You only get one chance to do that.

Get out there and good luck on that interview!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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