Because hiring managers can’t always spend hours upon hours with every prospective employee, the first impression a job applicant makes is going to matter much more than it would in other settings—and choosing an outfit that has professionalism written all over it can go a long way.
Unfortunately for people who love dressing in sunny colors, a job interview is not the best place to break out your bright orange three-piece suit. In a 2013 study, CareerBuilder surveyed 2099 hiring managers and human resources representatives. The study found that 25 percent of them think that not only is orange the worst color to wear to an interview, it’s also most likely to be associated with a lack of professionalism.
According to CareerBuilder’s chief people officer, Michelle Armer, you don’t want your clothes to distract interviewers from what you’re actually saying.
“The goal of any interview is to communicate what unique value you bring to the company and its culture,” Armer told Money. “A good rule of thumb: make sure the people remember you more than your clothes."
Even if you’re vying for a position at a company where the dress code is casual, you want to prove that you can bring your business-formal A game if need be—and also assure everyone that you’re taking the job opportunity seriously.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that dressing in orange will actually ruin your chances of landing a job but, as Money points out, why risk it? You’ll have plenty of time to flaunt your fabulous style once you’ve signed the contract.
Instead, CareerBuilder’s survey suggests that sticking to a nice blue or black ensemble is the ideal way to play it safe—23 percent of participants think blue is best, while 15 percent prefer black.
Now that you know what you shouldn’t wear to a job interview, here’s a handy list of things that you definitely shouldn’t say once you’re there.