How to Dress for a Skilled Trades Interview

You’ve heard the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” The interview process is designed to get to know you well enough to see the person under the surface. However, the first visual impression employers have is often a lasting one, so that makes what you wear extremely important.


We know that the in-person interview really isn’t the first impression Hiring managers may have already spoken to you by phone. But it’s the first visual impression an employer has of you. Here are some tips to make sure you understand the rules on dressing to impress for skilled trades interview.


What to Wear – and What Not to Wear


Most industries have a uniform. In the skilled trades, it’s more likely to be a pair of jeans, work shirt, boots, and a hardhat. It’s unlikely to be a pressed crisp suit. No matter the on-the-job outfit, wearing the appropriate clothing during the interview and having a well-groomed, neat appearance will increase your chances of getting the job offer.


No matter what you wear, making sure your clothes are clean and ironed is important. Business casual clothing is perfectly appropriate. A nice pair of khakis and button-down shirt will make a solid first impression. Other examples of business casual include the following:


  • Pants and skirts should be not too flashy; go for conservative colors like black, brown, or grey. Skirts or dresses should fall around the knee line.
  • Tops should be buttoned appropriately and necklines should not plunge. Wearing a polo shirt in a hot climate is perfectly appropriate.
  • Footwear is easy to miss, but should also be neatly polished. Dress shoes are probably better than tennis shoes.
  • Accessories shouldn’t be flashy. Belts should fit well. Simple jewelry is ok.
  • Blazers or jackets are fine, but in hotter seasons, it’s also ok to skip it.


Keep in mind that you may be taken out into the workplace to see the daily environment. So you may be touring a garage, factory, construction site, or other work area. That reinforces the idea that appropriate shoes are important. Also, if the weather is poor that day, make sure your outerwear is clean and appropriate for the season.


Your goal is to look well put-together, even if you’re nervous about the interview. If you have pets at home, give your outfit a good lint rolling before leaving the house. If you’re driving and your vehicle seems dirty, just put a clean sheet in the driver’s seat to keep your clothes nice for the interview. Look for small details like a missing button or loose threads. Above all make sure your outfit is ironed and free of stains.


While these small details may seem tedious for a skilled trades job, following these rules could set you apart from the next candidate in line just enough to land the position.


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