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Does what you wear to a job interview matter?

According to this analysis, your colour choice could be all important.

Mirela Lakovic of Laka
Mirela Lakovic of Laka
Image: G6010C/EMPICS Entertainment

WHAT YOU CHOOSE to wear communicates a lot about who you are and how you see yourself. So in the all-important job interview, what colour should you wear to make a great first impression?

According to 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals who participated in CareerBuilder’s recently published survey, blue and black are the best colours to wear to a job interview, and orange is the worst.

Conservative colors, such as black, blue, gray, and brown, seem to be the the safest bet when meeting someone for the first time in a professional setting, whereas colors that signal more creativity, like orange, may be too loud for an interview.

Below, hiring professionals who participated in the survey explain how they view different colors worn by job candidates. We’ve also included a brief analysis of colour psychology and what messages these colours send to the world.

Black: Leadership

Black can be seen as unapproachable, but if you wear it correctly, it can also “communicate glamour, sophistication, exclusivity”, says branding expert Karen Haller. Black is a colour that is taken seriously. Consider brands such as Chanel and Yves Saint Lauren using black to communicate that they are the leader in their industry.

Fashion - Chanel - Paris - 1938 Source: Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

Blue: Team Player

Blue is one of the best colours to wear on a job interview because is exudes trust and confidence. Lisa Johnson Mandell at AOL Jobs writes: “Studies show that navy blue is the best colour for a suit to wear to a job interview, because it inspires confidence. You are more likely to get the job when you wear navy blue to an interview than any other colour.”

Pictured at Would this blue count? Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Gray: Logical/Analytical

Wearing gray communicates independence or isolation. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as you show that you’re confident. Since gray is somewhat of a lonely color, this may say to others that you’re very much an individual, who is self-sufficient and capable of thinking on your own.

'Non-Stop' Premiere - Los Angeles Source: AP/Press Association Images

White: Organised

Wearing white and beige is a safe bet, but you may be considered “dull and lacking in self confidence”. Hiring managers think that white means you’re “organised” since any chaos at all and you may find yourself with a stain on that white outfit. Mandell at AOL Jobs advises wearing white or beige for a job where everyone else wears loud colors.

European and Local Elections. Sinn Fein Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

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Brown: Dependable

This earthy colour means warmth, safety, reliability and dependability, says Haller. Think of brands that use brown in their logo, such as UPS and the original M&Ms.

Variety's Power of Women: New York Source: AP/Press Association Images

Red: Power

Red conveys passion and power and is the best colour to wear when you’re trying to persuade or impress someone, says Kenny Frimpong, brand marketing and development manager at Italian menswear brand Eredi Pisano. Red is also linked to courage, excitement, and energy.

Germany - The Cabinet Source: AP/Press Association Images

Green, Yellow, Orange, and Purple: Creative

These louder colours communicate that you’re fun and attract attention, but they don’t necessarily elicit feelings of trust or commitment, which may not be the best message to send in a job interview. However, wearing these colours would work great for happy hour gatherings or in-house meetings, says Frimpong.


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Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

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