What are the best colours to wear to a job interview?
Is it true that navy and blue are the best choices to impress a potential employer and very often, also all the rest of the world?
When you think that British singer and songwriter Barry Green – known for his 1973 smash hit Dancin’ on a Saturday Night – had to change his name in Barry Blue to finally being able to break into the music industry, then you’ll get a clue about the importance of colours in everyday life.
UK colour expert and Kettlewell Colours founder Melissa Nicholson is in today for a quick Q&A on the absolute best colours you should be wearing to a job interview not to bore or scare away your future boss!
Melissa, what are the best colours to wear for a job interview?
For success in a job interview, you must look authentic. You can do this by wearing colours and styles that complement you. If you look and feel good, you will also feel confident. If you wear a colour that suits you, then you’ll feel far more comfortable speaking and presenting yourself, and you’ll perform better during the interview. It is also so important to research the company and bear in mind the job you are being interviewed for. Being interviewed for an investment bank job is not the same as getting a job interview at Google. For example, some candidates come to an interview in our colour company wearing black! So my main tips are: first, understand the colours, and buy the shopping you feel the most confident in; second, understand your environment. Generally speaking, I would advise to wearing your best neutral colours to an interview e.g navy, light grey, dark grey, mink, taupe, mole, teal, tan, chocolate, stone, beige or black.
I’ve worn black to job interviews for all my life. Is it a good idea?
A lot of people think that black suits them, but the reality is that there are very few people who actually look good in black, especially on camera (think about Skype or Zoom job interviews). If in doubt, I would absolutely advise wearing navy in preference to black, since navy is kinder to your skin tone. Almost everyone looks good in navy, and navy is more business-like over black. Navy is a much safer option and it is better than black. Teal is another fantastic option: no one looks bad in teal.
People who wear navy typically have a hard time finding navy shoes to match their outfit.
Well, you can even wear black shoes with a navy suit.
But you should never wear black and blue together. This is what we always say in Italy.
It really depends on the tone of both. There are loads of different types of navy, and even many types of black, and not all fit together.
Many types of black?!
Sure. Less dark or darker blacks. You can run a seasonal colour analysis to find out what season you are and get a personalised colour palette, and every season everyone has their perfect shade of navy, whether it is a very dark traditional navy (for Winters), a softer French navy (for Summers), a bright navy (for Springs) or a teal navy (for Autumns). Also, navy suits for men can go with black shoes; it is masculine and elegant. In any case, you can also wear accessories in dark navy or light navy, like a scarf – or you can pick another neutral colour like mole or teal.
How about red? Is it appropriate only if you want to work with Santa Claus?
Red is a universal and fantastic colour, and it is ideal if you want to get noticed, like… on the red carpet! It inspires energy and confrontation you do not really want in a job interview. In such a situation, you want to come across like you, not like the colour.
Any exception to this rule?
When we talk about job interviews we mostly think about office jobs, but actually, there are many different types of jobs out there, including more physical jobs like beautician and massage therapist. If, for example, you are being interviewed to be a sports coach, you may want to wear just a bit of red to communicate energy. Do not be afraid of making mistakes if you feel it’s appropriate to the role and to your personality.
How about hair colours? Does your hair colour also affect your career?
Again, if you dye your hair according to your personal palette, you will always look good, and it all comes down to personal branding: if you are dark red-headed, and you are applying for a job that is not too conservative like, for example, in the PR industry, your dark red hair can actually help you outline your social and creative side, and this will be an advantage. At the same time, if the same person goes blond without any accordance with her personal palette, she will look so awful that she won’t get the job… let her go caramel and she will look good again… and she will get the job!
How do you find out your best colours?
You can do a free test on our Kettlewell Colours website – but if you are based in the UK and you want to have a more personalised service, it is worth spending £130 to visit a colour stylist and have a full seasonal colour analysis to identify what your best personal colours are, and how to combine them to get the most confidence. You have no idea how many customers send me emails after their appointment with the stylist, to say that they’ve gained a lot of confidence. They say that the consultation has saved them so much money as they have avoided so many shopping mistakes! If you understand your palette, you stick to those colours and you’ll always look good because all your colours will work together to make you sparkle.
★ If you want more tips on how to present yourself well to a job interview, you might be interested in how to style your hair for a job interview, how to wear high heels to a job interview, how to look good in a video CV and what you should never say to a recruiter