Clothing Colors Can Affect Job Interviews

November 26, 2013 ( – While dressing well for a job interview is a no-brainer, what colors you wear can make a difference as well.

A new survey from CareerBuilder looks at the attributes employers most often associate with colors that job candidates wear to interviews. When asked to advise job seekers on the best color to wear, employers most recommend blue (23%) and black (15%). Orange was deemed the worst color for an interview by 25% of employers and most likely to be associated with someone who is unprofessional.

While conservative colors such as black, blue, gray and brown convey a sense of professionalism, other qualities conveyed by the color of a candidate’s clothing include:

  • Black (leadership);
  • Blue (being a team player);
  • Gray (logical or analytical);
  • White (organized);
  • Brown (dependable);
  • Red (power); and
  • Green, Yellow, Orange or Purple (associated with creativity).

CareerBuilder experts offer the following tips to dress for success when meeting with a potential employer:

  • Dress for the environment, but don’t get too casual. If everyone is dressed in shorts and flip flops and you show up in a business suit, you may not come across as the right fit.  Dress according to the environment, but always look polished. Wear a suit where appropriate or at the very least a nice pair of pants or skirt and collared shirt or blouse.
  • Stick with neutrals. You can’t go wrong with navy, black, brown and gray. You can pair this with a classic white button-down shirt or incorporate a splash of a more vibrant color.
  • Tailor your outfit. Clothing that is too tight or revealing can leave an unfavorable impression. Clothing that is too loose can make you look like a kid wearing a parent’s clothes. Make sure your interview apparel complements your shape.
  • Don’t distract the interviewer. Wacky ties, loud patterns and oversized jewelry can cause the interviewer to spend more time wondering about your outfit than your skill set. Solids or small patterns are your best bet for interview attire.
  • Pay attention to details. Make sure shoes are polished, clothes are free of wrinkles and nails are manicured. Be mindful of your choice of belt, tie clip, hosiery, socks and other items.

This survey was carried out within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder. It was conducted online among 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed and nongovernment) between August 13 and September 6.

CareerBuilder is a provider of labor market intelligence, talent management software and other recruitment solutions.