The interview scheduler says the interview is going to be “casual.” She says they are looking forward to meeting you, and want to learn more about your work and goals. You’re pumped! Now you ask yourself the hard question: What am I going to wear? Can I wear jeans to a job interview?
Can I Wear Jeans to a “Casual” Interview?
Your first instinct may be that “casual” means you can wear jeans to the interview. You are wrong.
For a “casual” interview, the interviewer expects you to show up dressed professionally, but not in a full suit. For gentlemen, this means dress slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. You don’t need a jacket of any sort, but do wear an undershirt. In fact, always wear the undershirt. Wear a tie, but if you get to the office and no one else has on a tie, it’s ok to take it off in the Men’s room and stash it in your briefcase.
For ladies, “casual” is a little trickier. You can never go wrong with a wrap dress and low heels or ballet flats. If you show your legs, wear hose or tights unless you have a killer tan.
Dress slacks with a pretty blouse also works. Keep your accessories classy. Stick to pearls or simple metals. Save the big bling for later.
Can I Wear Jeans to an Interview at a Café?
You see everything at a café, from Armani suits to PJ bottoms. The world’s population drags themselves in all states of dress to pray at the caffeine altar. However, you have an impression to make, and that impression can’t be “I just rolled out of bed and came to this meeting.”
If meeting at a café for an interview, follow the rules of professional dress unless you know the interviewer personally and have an idea of what he or she may be wearing. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. So, gents wear the tie, and ladies bring on the heels. No jeans allowed.
Can I Wear Jeans to a Last-Minute Interview?
Mr. Grey’s secretary says he absolutely must see you today! Certainly your jeans are fine, since it’s last minute and all? Nope. Don’t even think about it.
Even when an interview is last minute, you must look professional. If you don’t have time to go home, stop by TJ Maxx or Ross and grab a low-cost outfit. For less than $50, you can look appropriate.
Can I Wear Jeans to a Low-Paying Job Interview?
We all take on low-paying jobs to make ends meet while looking for the “dream” job or paying our college tuition. There’s honor in all work. If you show up to a low-paying job interview in jeans, you are showing the interviewer you aren’t taking the job seriously.
For McJobs, follow the rules of casual interview attire. Closed-toed shoes are a must for these interviews. Skip the strappy sandals.
Can I Wear Jeans to an Internship Interview?
Finding a good internship is tough. When you do finally land an interview, you have to show your potential employer that you’re ready to adult. You are ready to follow the conventions of the employed world by looking the part of a paid employee. No, this is the last place you want to wear jeans!
No matter where you are interviewing for an internship, dress professionally.
Is There Ever a Time I Can Wear Jeans to a Job Interview?
Believe it or not, there are two times when it’s appropriate to wear jeans to a job interview. First, if the interviewer specifically tells you to wear jeans. This is common on construction sites and even in the film industry. But, even in these industries, don’t assume jeans are OK. If not specifically told to wear jeans, follow the “casual” rules.
The other time it’s ok to wear jeans to a job interview is it’s a virtual interview. Still wear a dress shirt or blouse and a blazer. You want to look professional, but no one can see your jeans anyway.
And, for the love of all that is sacred, never dream of wearing jeans with holes or rips in front of your employer!
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