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How to Dress for a Second Interview

Congratulations! You made it past the first round of interviews and are invited back for a second interview.

This is great news because it means you’re being seriously considered for the job. Your challenge now is to impress them as much in your second interview as you did in your first.

As far as what you should wear, you may think that you should dress to impress, especially in a second interview. But you’d be wrong. Your goal should be that the way you’re dressed is so neutral that it goes completely unnoticed.

You want the attention to be focused on you and not on your clothes. Ideally, the interviewers won’t remember anything about what you wore because they were so interested in what you had to say.

You have an advantage in this regard over someone who is going to their first interview. You’ve seen what employees at the company and what the Hiring Manager and/or interview panel wears. This enables you to make better decisions as to what is appropriate.

Tips for choosing what to wear for a second interview

My best advice is to dress like the Hiring Manager was dressed for your first interview. This is probably a step up from what’s worn by the rank and file, but that’s exactly what you want to do: dress one step up from what a regular employee wears.

If the Hiring Manager wasn’t in your first interview, go with what the most well-dressed person on the interview panel wore.

There’s an exception to this. If either the Hiring Manager or the interview panel were dressed very casually in your first interview, you still should at least dress business casual for your second interview. What’s considered okay for employees is different from what is expected in an interview.

The bare minimum for all interviews is business casual. This means slacks (not jeans) or a skirt, a dress shirt or blouse, a blazer, and conservative, low-heeled shoes. If no one in the interview panel met this standard, it’s still what you should wear.

Of course, for management or executive/senior-level positions, a suit should always be worn, with no exceptions.

For both men and women, conservative is the word of the day when it comes to dressing. Conservative colors, conservative patterns, conservative shoes. Conservative is always acceptable in an interview.

Bonus Topics: What About Glasses and a Haircut?

I actually have people ask me if it’s okay to wear their glasses to a job interview. My answer is always of course it is! You shouldn’t spend any time wondering or worrying about wearing glasses to an interview.

Unless the frames are an outrageous style, your glasses will be all but invisible and no one will give them a second thought.

Haircuts are a different matter. As a Hiring Manager, my advice for men – unless you are interviewing for a rock band -is to get that haircut before your interview. Like your clothes, you don’t want your hair to be the first thing anyone notices.

Yes, longish hair is considered fashionable for men. However, your goal is not to be fashionable – it’s to get the job. Not everyone is in favor of long hair for men and you don’t want to come across that one Hiring Manager who considers long hair inappropriate.

For women, it’s not an issue. A haircut is of course not even a consideration. What you do want to avoid are any wild hairstyles. Again, you want the focus to be on who you are, not what you look like.

Having said all this, I’ll also say that none of it is an absolute deal-killer in an interview. But you want as many things working for you as possible, so it’s best to eliminate them as obstacles.

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