Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

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Orange is NOT the New Black: Best and Worst Colors to Wear in a Job Interview

Best and worst colors to wear to a job interviewWomen in orange jumpsuits may have won over Netflix audiences everywhere, but wearing orange to a job interview won’t win over too many hiring managers. Voted for by 1 in 4 employers, orange topped the list for the worst color to wear to a job interview and was most closely associated with unprofessionalism.

Good old fashioned blue (23 percent) and black (15 percent) — probably the most staple, conservative colors for business attire — topped the list of colors employers want to see candidates wear during job interviews.

That’s according to a fun new CareerBuilder survey, which took into account responses from more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals.

The Color Wheel

While fashionable candidates may scoff at wearing boring brown, for example, this color in fact gives off the air of being dependable – something hiring managers are looking for.

Here’s a snapshot of attributes employers tend to associate with colored clothing draping candidates:

  • Black: Leadership.
  • Blue: Team Player.
  • Gray: Logical/Analytical.
  • White: Organized.
  • Brown: Dependable.
  • Red: Power.
  • Green, Yellow, Orange or Purple: Creative.

Polish Your Resume – And Also Your Shoes!

Apart from clothing colors, there are a few other things employers look for when sizing up job candidates during an interview.

For instance, it can only help if candidates are well-groomed with polished shoes, wrinkle-free clothes and manicured nails.

Similarly, tailored outfits that drape one’s frame appropriately get a thumbs up, while overly bold accents — including wacky ties or loud patterns — get a thumbs down for being more of a distraction than a conversation starter.

Check out the entire study and tell us what you think in the comments below.

Deanna Hartley

About Deanna Hartley

Deanna Hartley is a senior copywriter and community manager on the creative services team at CareerBuilder, where she writes about issues that are top of mind for employers and recruiters – including talent acquisition, employee engagement and retention. An avid social media user, Deanna is the face behind @CBforEmployers on Twitter as well as CBforEmployers’ Facebook and Instagram pages, so it’s easy to stay connected with her. Prior to joining CareerBuilder, Deanna was a senior editor for the Human Capital Media Group, publishers of Talent Management, Chief Learning Officer, Diversity Executive and Workforce Management magazines. Deanna holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She loves caffeine, social media, pop culture and dogs – though not necessarily in that order.
Molly J.
Molly J.

Great tips and could easily translate into everyday work apparel as well. I found it interesting that blue and black actually rated fairly low even those those are common colors for men's and women's professional attire. 


@MollyJones Hey Molly - glad you enjoyed! It's interesting you bring that up - still, black and blue did manage to top the list of what TO wear (really anything neutral, I suppose).


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