Preparing for a job interview is stressful, including planning what you’re going to wear. Do you go with the beige pencil skirt that scored you a killer internship in college? Do you borrow that green polka-dotted number from your roommate to show that you’re serious about the role but also have some personality? The choices are endless. And that’s why we consulted the pros at Snagajob, an online job board, to guide us.
What’s the one color you should never wear to a job interview?
Unfortunately, it’s orange. Apparently, this classic fall hue tends to spook potential employers. “Research over the last 50 years has helped us to understand that 75 percent of a face-to-face conversation is non-verbal,” the career experts at Snagajob told us. “Words are used primarily to convey information, while body language, facial expressions and personal presentation are used to evaluate interpersonal attitudes and trust. While orange might be your favorite color, on the receiving end, orange can unintentionally communicate that you are an attention-seeking, over-confident candidate.” In fact, a 2013 CareerBuilder survey polled 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across several industries and orange topped the worst colors list, with 25 percent of employers agreeing it was the worst color to wear to an interview.
While there’s nothing wrong with believing in your capabilities, no hiring manager wants a potential egomaniac on their hands. Of course, they want someone who doesn’t need a ton of hand-holding, but they don’t want someone who’s going to step over toes or negatively impact their team because they feel like they can do everyone else’s job.
And if you’re thinking this won’t translate over Zoom, think again. Snagajob urges you to remember that you’re already working within a limited interview format. Don’t add more factors that work against you. “Color psychology affects perception, even when we don’t realize it’s influence, so you don’t want to give the interviewer an impression that works against what you’re trying to convey because of your orange top,” the company explains.
Great, so what do I wear instead?
If your lucky turtleneck is a rich pumpkin spice orange and you feel like you’re all out of options now, don’t panic. When you’re picking an outfit for a job interview, remember that you’re trying to sell yourself and convince your potential employer that you’ll take the job seriously and be an asset to the team. And while fashion is a form of self-expression—we totally get that you may want to also showcase your individuality—you have to meet in the middle somewhere.
Snagajob suggests you compromise by wearing an outfit in your favorite shade of blue. “It helps your audience clearly see what a valuable asset you could be for their business because you’re wearing a color that conveys trust, responsibility and team spirit,” the job aggregation site explains. And while the options are more flexible for in-person interviews, you have to be a bit more mindful if it’s over Zoom. “Pick a darker blue than what you may have selected for an in-person interview. Webcams don’t catch color the way our eyes do in person, so light blue may wash out,” says Snagajob. We suggest something in a nice cobalt or ultramarine blue.
Happy job hunting!