Press & Media

Does Dress Colour Matter in a Job Interview? 


We dress to impress, especially when it comes to job interviews. However, putting on the best clothes with your favourite colour might send the wrong signal to the interviewers. 

When it comes to persuasion, emotion is the primary target. Nothing - not even words or images - appeals more to people’s emotions than colour. Be it positive or negative feelings, the colour of your clothes sends a subconscious message to the interviewer about your personality. Wearing the right colour will upgrade your appearance, eventually building up your confidence and performance on a job interview. 

See also: Should You Include Volunteer Work in Your Resume? 

SmartRecruiters conducted a study involving 180 applicants who got hired and 1,800 who did not make it. The survey showed that black was the safety colour choice worn by most applicants. 70 percent of the hired candidates reported wearing a mostly black outfit to their interviews, while only 33 percent of rejected candidates wore black. 

However, deciding what to wear is slightly more complex than just picking black, white, or any colours in your mind as employers reported that various colours could send various messages during an interview process. 

Here is the breakdown of the messages various colours can send during an interview: 

  • Black express a form of leadership.

  • White gives the impression that the person is well-organised. Also new beginnings, impartiality, cleanliness and purity.

  • Blue declares that the person is a team player. It also conveys feelings of calm, trust, and confidence.

  • Red is the colour of power. The person who wears this will be seen as bold and assertive.

  • Brown shows that the person is dependable. Also, evoking feelings of calmness.

  • Gray reads as logical and analytical. It evokes sophistication and neutrality.

  • Green, Yellow, Orange and Purple are associated with creativity.

The colour you choose for a job interview depends on the position and the company/industry. Do research on the company’s work environment before the interview. Wear colours that show you will fit into the company’s culture. In a conservative office, you should pick neutral and solid colours. Black and grey are better choices. 

On the other hand, casual offices such as startups and non-profit organisations will be entertained with more colour. They might like softer colours since they convey a bit of personality without being overwhelming. If you are in any doubt about the company's culture, it is best to dress conservatively. Neutral and solid colours for the win. A lot of colour experts say that grey is simply the best colour to wear. The colour is neutral and powerful. It sends a message of being rock solid, wise and reliable. 

Every colour speaks for itself, however, you should also be cautious of colours that might lower your chance to look impressive in an interview. These are a few colours that are rather risky to wear on a job interview. 

  • Red. This colour seems too strong, especially for young professionals. You don’t want to let the employers assume that you are domineering and/or rebellious.

  • Orange. The colour sends the impression that the person is unprofessional.

  • Brown. The colour is simple. Thus, the person who wears it could seem as slow to change. If you are applying in a fast-changing industry, then it is totally the wrong colour.

So, have you decided what to wear for your next interview? 

Next read: The Art of Telling Jokes: How to Get a Job with Laughter 

Next read: Jobs You Can Pursue with an English Literature Degree