Cornell University

Interview Attire

First impressions are lasting impressions. Research shows that judgments are made in the first 30 seconds of an introduction. Typically people notice your clothing, face, hands, and shoes immediately. Your attire and appearance are non-verbal statements about who you are and what you do. If you take care in your appearance, the interviewer can assume that you will take care on the job.

  • Business attire consists of a two-piece suit in a conservative color (black, gray, navy) with a dress shirt/blouse and matching-color or dark shoes/pumps with low or medium heels. Men should wear conservative ties.
  • Business casual attire varies from one organization to another. In some settings this may mean a coordinated jacket and slacks/skirt and shirt/blouse. In other offices, khakis/slacks and a shirt/blouse may be the norm. No tie is required for men.

When deciding what to wear for different recruiting events, consider the following guidelines:

For Interviews

  • Know the industry standard. Generally, attire is more formal/conservative for large corporations and less formal for nonprofit and government offices.
  • Check with the employer and/or review the employer’s website.

At Career Fairs

  • Wear business-casual attire at a minimum to accommodate differing expectations of widely diverse employers.

Make a positive impression by looking neat, clean, and presentable.

At Employer Information Sessions

  • Check in the on-campus recruiting listings to see if the expected type of dress for a particular presentation is indicated.
  • Wear professional attire to sessions hosted by corporate firms, or for those conducted in formal settings such as the Statler Hotel.
  • Opt for business-casual dress for sessions conducted in seminar rooms, lounges, or classrooms.


  • Wear clothes that fit well and are clean and pressed. Be sure there are no rips/tears, missing buttons, or lint, and remove tags from new clothes.
  • Make sure your hair is clean and neat. Men should be clean shaven or have facial hair neatly trimmed.
  • Check fingernails to ensure they’re clean. Wear only neutral shades of nail polish.
  • Make sure shoes are clean, polished, and in good condition.
  • Practice good hygiene and avoid heavy use of cologne, perfume, and strongly scented body products such as after-shave or deodorant.