Office of Alumni Relations
CIBC First Caribbean International Bank

Career Resources: Interviews

Dressing For A Successful Interview And Beyond

It cannot be overstated the importance of dressing sensibly for an interview and thereafter if you are successful in landing that all important job.

Wardrobe Necessities

While most of us will not be fortunate enough to have a ‘full range’ wardrobe, At the very least, a wardrobe must contain the following

  • A single colour tailored dress or skirt suit
  • An enclosed pair of black or brown shows with matching bag
  • A portfolio is optional
  • A fitted pair of brown or black slacks
  • A pair of simple black or brown dress shoes with matching belt
  • A long or short sleeve shirt and matching tie
  • A portfolio is optional
Following is a guide to interview dress for Women

Interview  Dress for Women

The Business Suit A neutral-coloured (navy, gray, or black) two-piece business suit will be your best bet in an interview situation. Knee-length skirts are preferable to pants. Avoid suits with ruffles, sequins, appliqués, or other distracting ornamentation. Also stay away from fabrics that are shiny or flashy.
 Blouses Be sure to match the blouse to the suit. Stay away from flashy or distracting patterns. Neutral colours are your best bet.
Leg Wear Wearing neutral hose that match your outfit is a must. Wear closed-toe pumps with a low-to-medium heel. Refrain from wearing sandals, strappy shoes, or high heels.
Jewelry Go easy on the jewelry. One conservative pair of earrings is fine. Do not wear any jewelry that dangles or makes noise.
Hair, Makeup and Nails Wear your hair in a simple, natural manner away from your face. The interview is not the time to experiment with a new hairdo. Keep make-up simple.
Bags  If you have things to carry, try to put them in a small, thin portfolio or bag. Do not lug a huge purse into your interview

Interview  Dress for Men

The Business Suit A neutral-coloured (navy, gray, or black) two-piece business suit will be your best bet. Avoid suits made of fabrics that are shiny, flashy, or have a distracting pattern.
 Shirts and Ties You should wear a traditional button-down cotton shirt and tie to the meeting. Be sure to match the skirt and tie.
Shoes/Socks/Belts The number one rule for men is, wear polished shoes, socks and belt that match. Refrain from wearing socks that have patterns or wild colours. Also pass on shoes that have more than one colour.
Jewelry Piercings on men are usually not welcomed in the interview. It is a good idea to remove the jewelry from all of your piercings before your arrive.
Hair and Nails Wear your hair in a professional, conservative manner. If you have a hairstyle that is long, be sure that it is pulled away from your face. Your nails should be clean and neatly trimmed.
Bags  A thin portfolio or attaché is acceptable. Never carry a school bag or back pack into the interview.

Source: Interviewing – 10 Ways to Land a Job by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Professional Communication Series (2003)


Tattoos have become very popular today in society, However, most organizations – including the armed forces have specific policies as it relates to tattoos. If you must have a tattoo, place it in an area where it cannot be easily seen – not on the hands, neck or face. Always ensure that your tattoos are fully covered at an interview. Remember! This is a social thing, not a business thing.

Dressing beyond the Interview

If you successfully landed that job two things will determine your dress from their.
  1. Company rules and regulations as set out in the company employee manual or as dictated by the position you will hold. It will often be outlined in your contract of employment.
  2. Organization culture. You dress will quite often be determined by the culture in the organization in not explicitly stated.
You should always seek to stay with the confines of either of the above guidelines.

Basic Interview Etiquette

Etiquette is usually considered to be general socially acceptable behaviour is a variety of situations or circumstances. Interviews are no exceptions. Following are some basic guidelines:
  1. Always know ahead of time exactly where the interview is being held and who you will be meeting with
  2. Always arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the commencement of the interview.
  3. When met by the interviewer, always give direct eye contact, smile and give a firm hand-shake.
  4. When you enter the meeting room, do not take a seat before you are told to do so.
  5. Always sit where you are told to sit.
  6. Men, always take you seat after the female interviewer.
  7. Men, you can be seated with a male interviewer.
  8. Always sit up right in the chair provided. Never slouch, placing both feet firmly on the floor.
  9. Females, if your are carrying a hand-bag, never place it on the meeting table or the interviewer’s desk. Desks or tables are not made for bags. Always place your bag in your lap or on the floor beside the chair in which you are seated
  10. If you are carrying a portfolio and wish to write, first seek permission to use part of the table before you simply place the portfolio of your lap and take your notes there.

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