Congratulations! You have a job interview!
I am sure you’ve researched the company thoroughly (using LinkedIn, Glassdoor, the Company website etc.), and you have written and rehearsed your answers to dozens of interview questions. Now all you need to know is what to wear.
While the dress code in Israel’s workplace is far more relaxed than in other countries, as a rule of thumb, my advice is – always dress one up from whatever is customary. It may be alright for employees of that company to come to work in shorts and sandals, you – however – should not. You may do so once you are hired but for the interview you want to make the best impression you can.
The safest choice is formal button-down shirt and slacks for men (and a jacket if you are interviewing for a managerial position) and a blouse and slacks or a skirt for women, if you choose to wear a dress choose one with sleeves and long enough you don’t have a problem sitting down comfortably – always err on the side of conservatism rather than the opposite.
To make an informed decision, ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of job am I applying for? Is it an executive position, managerial or will I be a regular staff member?
- Who is the company? Are they an international concern, a start-up or just a small local business?
- Who will be interviewing me? Am I meeting a representative from the Human Resources department, my professional supervisor or am I meeting with senior management?
- Do I understand my employer’s needs? Will I be working face-to-face with the public?
- Does the company have its own dress code? Are they likely to expect workers to wear a uniform? Do they work with the religious community who expect conservative dress?
The weather will also influence your clothing choice, regardless the temperatures, you must dress professionally.
Interview dress tips for men
- Be clean shaven or, if you sport a beard, make sure it is well trimmed and looks well cared for.
- Your shoes tell a prospective employer a lot about you and your attention to detail – make sure they are clean and polished. No sandals or sneakers!
- If you are applying for an executive or managerial position wear a jacket with a button-down formal shirt. Never push your jacket sleeves up like Don Johnson did in the ’80s.
- If you are applying for a job with a high level of responsibility, no need for a suit – a button down formal shirt, with tailored pants is acceptable. Only keep the very top button of your shirt open.
- If a less formal shirt is appropriate, a polo shirt is always a good choice. Avoid stripes and bold prints.
- Make sure your clothing is clean and that shirts and pants have been pressed and ironed.
- The hem length of your pants should go below your ankles but never dragging on, or touching the ground. No frayed hems.
- Torn or fraying jeans, even if they are in fashion, are not acceptable. No hip-hop dress, or rapper style clothing, underwear should not be visible above the belt line.
- Brown, black, grey or navy blue (matching) socks to match your pants.
- Wear a plain leather belt that matches the color of your pants.
Interview dress tips for women
- The length of a skirt has a significant meaning in Israel (especially in the religious community) NO mini-skirts. Be modest but not extreme.
- If you wear slacks make sure they are properly tailored and fit well. No shorts, tight or baggy pants even if they are fashionable. A pant-suit is appropriate if you are applying for an executive or managerial position.
- Sleeveless shirts, T’s and tank-tops are not okay. A blouse in a silky fabric, cotton or chiffon (not see-through though) works well.
- Bold prints, shiny and brightly colored fabrics are a distraction.
- Shoes are preferable to sandals although a nice pair of peep-toes or high heeled sandals can be ok too. No Crocs, thong sandals or beach shoes.
- Belts and accessories can be fun but make sure they are simple and don’t get overdo it.
- From top to bottom, your undergarments should not peek out.
Colors to wear to your interview
Men and women:
- Unless you are interviewing for a job in the fashion industry and need to make a fashion statement, go with conservative clothes and colors.
- White or light blue classic, tailored shirts, for men and for women are best. Pastels for women are also appropriate.
- Black or brown shoes are best.
Remember you have only one chance to make a good first impression. You will not get a second chance to rectify your dress mistake.