Can You Wear Shorts to a Job Interview?

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May 8, 2020
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min read

Offices have become much more casual over the past decade or so. While this is usually great, it can throw candidates off when deciding what to wear to a job interview. Some people new to interviewing may even be wondering if they can wear shorts for an interview. 

The simple answer is no. Below we will break this down further and provide some tips on better options to look your best in even the most casual work environment.

Why you should not wear shorts to a job interview

You want to make sure you give a great first impression when you interview for potential jobs. Wearing shorts can send the wrong message.

It can look like you didn't put any thought into your outfit and that you do not know how to dress for the business world. Even if the company is casual and you see employees wearing shorts, you should wait until you work there to bare your legs.

How should you dress for an interview in hot weather?

People might think when it's hot out it's more acceptable to wear shorts and/or sandals to an interview. Sandals are also an item you should leave at home. Women often think sandals are appropriate during the summer months. However, until you know if the office has a dress code, you should not show your bare feet.

Dress shoes are always a better option. Unless the company is conservative, you can wear a professional skirt or dress without stockings.

Men should err on the side of caution though. Unfortunately, there are fewer warm-weather options.

Unless you know the company is extremely laid back, you should still wear a button-down shirt, but you can leave the tie at home.

A suit is still the best option for men. Besides shorts and sandals, men should also avoid t-shirts. The hiring manager could get the wrong opinion of you if you are dressed like you are going to the beach.

You want to show them that you are the one for the job and that starts with the appearance you portray. Remember, even if you get hot easily, you can change after your job interview.

Tips on what to wear to a business casual interview

Candidates can get confused when they are told or read somewhere that a company is business casual. We are here to help you make sure you look the best. One tip is that you can never be overdressed for an interview.

Even if the people you meet with are in jeans, wearing a suit is still a safe bet. Dressing in formal attire shows that you care about your career and hope to get the job.

Take some time before the day of your interview to pick out your outfit. This way you are prepared and don't have to worry about your clothes.

You want to feel confident is your clothes and show the interviewer that you are the right candidate. Here are a few general tips when it comes to dressing for your upcoming job interview.

  • Wear neutral or dark colors. Black, navy, and gray are always safe.
  • Your outfit should be clean and fit well.
  • Men should always wear pants.
  • Your hair should be neat and clean.
  • Keep it simple, nothing too loud or bright.
  • Make time to ensure your clothes are ironed and fresh.

Final thoughts on wearing shorts to an interview

We are here to help you make sure your interview outfit doesn't give off the wrong impression. So we want to emphasize that you should come dressed ready to nail your interview.

The last thing you would want is to look too casual for the workplace. One easy way to avoid this is to not wear shorts.

If the position you are interviewing for has a laid back culture, you still need to dress more formally. You may not have to wear a suit but you should always look professional when meeting a potential employer.

Someone may have a different opinion of what is appropriate, so if you look buttoned up and nice, no one will have any questions about your appearance. Feel free to ask a friend for help when it comes to picking out your interview outfit. Lastly, work on your interview questions, related answers, and resume and you will be in your next career in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are appropriate alternatives to shorts for a more casual job interview?

For a casual job interview, opt for smart casual attire such as khaki pants, chinos, or a skirt at knee-length or longer. Pair these with a neat, pressed button-down shirt or blouse, and closed-toe shoes. This strikes a balance between casual and professional, showing respect for the interview process while aligning with a more relaxed company culture.

How can you assess a company's dress code before an interview?

Research the company's culture through their website, social media, or by reaching out to current employees if possible. Look for photos or mentions of day-to-day office life that might give clues about their dress code. If in doubt, it's acceptable to ask the HR representative or hiring manager about appropriate attire when scheduling the interview.

Is it ever acceptable to wear shorts to a job interview in a creative or non-traditional field?

While creative fields may allow for more expressive attire, it's generally best to err on the side of professionalism for a job interview. If the company is known for a very relaxed dress code, tailored, high-quality shorts might be acceptable, but it's safer to choose more traditional interview attire unless you are explicitly told otherwise.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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