How to Dress for an Interview Dinner

A dark, properly fitting suit, will always carry a professional air.
A dark, properly fitting suit, will always carry a professional air. (Image: Images)

Occasionally, due to scheduling or the interviewer’s preference to meet off-site in a more casual environment, an interview may take place over dinner. Despite the location, the interviewee should treat the dinner interview the same as if the interview were held in an office. Dinner gives your interviewer an opportunity to evaluate your social graces and etiquette. Your first impression and appearance can factor greatly into the hiring decision. Your dress for the dinner interview is as important as how you conduct yourself during the meal.

Dress the same as you would if the interview were in an office. Regardless of the type of dining establishment, wear a dark suit and dress as conservatively as possible. Men should wear a clean light-colored shirt and tie. Women’s skirts should not be too short and her heels should not be too high.

Wear minimal accessories and make-up. Despite your surroundings, which may include a dark restaurant, you do not want to appear flashy or wear bold colors. Men need to remove piercings, shave and get a haircut, as needed, before the interview to maintain a clean appearance. Women may prefer to wear her hair back or in a barrette so it does not interfere with dining. Conceal any tattoos, if possible.

Ensure your clothing fits properly. You do not want to be uncomfortable during dinner if your pants, skirt or shirt fit tightly. You may need these items to expand slightly during dinner so tight clothing will make you uncomfortable and may appear apparent. Women should not wear low-cut blouses or other tight clothing that may cause distraction.

Leave the cologne or perfume off for the interview. Do not take the chance of your cologne or perfume mixing with the smells of the restaurant. You also do not want to smell of smoke, hairspray or any other identifiable fragrance, other than soap. Wearing cologne or perfume opens the risk of your interviewer having an allergic reaction to your fragrance, something you need to avoid during a dinner interview.

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