3 Colors You Should Never Wear in a Job Interview

Krusty the Clown

Krusty, a colorful job applicant | FOX

Snagging a job interview is no easy task. Getting the job is even harder. If you’re looking for a new gig, every move counts. You have to be mindful of what you say, how you style your hair, what you wear, and even your clothing color choice. The colors you choose can have a powerful affect on others, so it’s important to choose wisely.

“In creative industries like advertising or public relations, there is a wider range of acceptable colors and outfits, so it is smart to do some detective work about the cultural norms of the company. Ask a friend or a recruiter familiar with the company, or use a site like Glassdoor to research what other job seekers say,” career coach and psychologist Janet Scarborough Civitelli told The Cheat Sheet.

You don’t want to look like you’re going to a funeral, but you don’t want to look like a clown, either. While color choice depends on the type of job you’re looking for, there are some colors that just won’t cut it. Let’s take a look at three colors you should avoid so you don’t leave the wrong impression on your interviewer. We’ll also highlight the three best colors to wear at the end.

1. Orange

Orange inmates

Orange isn’t the new color for a job interview outfit | Netflix

No matter how much you like this color, stay away. According to Ben Parr, author of the book Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention, people have automatic reactions to specific sights, sounds, and colors. Parr asserts that the color orange has the lowest correlation with confidence. A lack of confidence is the last thing you want to convey to a potential employer, so steer clear of this hue on the big day. Furthermore, in a survey conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder, 25% of employers said orange was the worst color a job candidate could wear because they associated the color with someone who is unprofessional. Orange is not the new black when it comes to job interviews.

Next: What does red say about you?

2. Red

Family dressed in red

This family is dressed in red, but they’re not going to a job interview | Pixar

Bright colors like red can elicit very strong feelings, and they are often not positive when it comes to job interviews. Your best bet is to stay away from colors that can be seen from clear across the room. “Hiring managers tend to love or hate red, so only choose red if you are comfortable with risk,” said Civitelli. Unless you’re a crime fighter or going on a date, red is not your color.

3. Brown

Brown bear

Unlike in the wild, brown in a job interview is boring | Thinkstock

Brown may seem like a safe color, but Civitelli says many hiring managers don’t care for this shade. Brown is a little too safe. Although this color tends to be associated with reliability and comfort, this may backfire when it comes to interviewing at a fast-paced company. An interviewer could get the impression that you’re resistant to change and would insist on doing things the way they’ve always been done. So ditch the cuddly bear look, and opt for a strong color like navy instead.

Which three colors should you wear instead?

The best colors for a job interview

men dressed in suits

Two men dressed in suits and job interview ready | Brooksbrothers.com

For the most part, you’ll want to keep it simple. Gray, blue, and black are three safe colors for job interviews. Research finds that gray is often associated with someone who is analytical and logical, while blue is associated with being a team player, as long as it’s not extreme like neon blue or powder blue. Most hiring managers agree that navy is the way to go when it comes to blue. Black is a timeless choice that often represents leadership. And, don’t forget to pick your clothes out the day before the interview. That’s one less distraction to worry about on the interview day.

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