What Colors to Wear (and Skip) On a Job Interview

You finally landed that coveted interview for your dream job and you're so sure you're going to nail it. You've researched the company and position thoroughly, printed a million copies of your résumé, compiled a stellar list of references... but what should you wear? Luckily, the choice is a little easier now that we know which colors are best for job interviews...and which should be avoided like the plague if you actually want to get hired.

CareerBuilder teamed up with Harris Interactive to conduct a study in which they polled "2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes" to determine the best and worst colors for job seekers. The main takeaways? Neutral shades convey the strongest sense of professionalism while funkier colors are likely to be seen as less professional. Blue and black where the two colors most frequently recommended by employers, while orange was named the worst color by 25 percent of those surveyed.

The most interesting part of the study is the breakdown of what traits the employers associate with different colors. For example, those who wear blue are seen as "team players" while green, yellow, orange, and purple give off a creative vibe. "Creative" appears to be the least desirable trait, which is depressing and also a surprise. After all, creativity is often listed as one of the top traits employers look for, and yet during my own job search (before I went the freelance writer route), I was passed over for several positions because the interviewers deemed me too creative and thought I was likely to get bored.

Long story short, there are certain colors that are more likely to get you called in for that second interview. Read on for your three best bets — and some ideas on how to wear them.

1. Blue

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Twenty-three percent of the employers polled said blue was the safest option, probably because of that "team player" association I mentioned earlier. Opt for a shift dress in a brighter shade (taking a cue from Kate Middleton), or choose a navy blazer. Whether you go full-on pantsuit should always depend on the type of job for which you're interviewing.

Anais Blazer, $468, Equipmentfr

Planet Cobalt Shit Dress, $190, House Of Fraser

2. Black

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Black is an assertive color that conveys a sense of leadership — perfect to wear while interviewing for managerial positions/positions of power in an organization. Fifteen percent of the employers surveyed by CareerBuilder recommended wearing black for interviews, so take that expert advice and get your best Boss Lady pantsuit pressed before the big day.

Reiss "Charlize" Crepe Jacket, $315, Selfridges

Kut From the Kloth "Diana" Skinny Pants, $69, Bloomingdales

3. Gray

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

According to the study, gray sends a message that you are logical and analytical, two excellent traits to have in the corporate world. While I'd suggest you shy away from the slouchy silhouette pictured on the runway above, a gray sweater or pencil skirt could work wonders on a potential employer.

Dear Cashmere Boat-neck Cashmere Sweater, $352, My Theresa

Faux Leather Trim Pencil Skirt, $59, Ann Taylor

Images: Courtesy Brands