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What Clothes to Wear to a Plumbing Interview

Your outfit might seem trivial, but the right getup can help you land the perfect plumbing job.

First impressions win jobs. In fact, 33% of hiring managers know if they want to hire you within 90 seconds. Moreover, 50% of those managers will eliminate you from the candidate pool based on how you dress, act, and introduce yourself during your very first interaction.

So, how can you make a great impression in less than two minutes?

If you want a high-paying plumbing job, it helps to dress for the position you want. Show the interviewer you’re competent, skilled, and experienced with a wardrobe that screams, “HIRE ME!”

While a formal suit makes the appropriate choice for the majority of interview situations, plumbing interviewees face a tougher decision. If you don a formal suit for a plumbing interview, you risk looking out of place in a rough-and-tumble industry. Plus, you might need to perform a plumbing-related task during the interview. Can you really snake a drain in a starched shirt and tie?

Because of the nature of the job, practicality comes first. You want to look professional and polished for your plumbing interview without looking too formal. Follow these four tips to dress appropriately without sacrificing comfort or professionalism.

1. Don’t dress too casual.

Unless you’re interviewing at a surf shop, don’t show up in ratty jeans, flip flops, and a graphic t-shirt. You might complete your plumbing work in an old shirt and jeans, but that doesn’t mean you should wear them to your interview.

Shirts with graphics or other distracting designs are a big no-no. These come off as too casual, and depending on what you have on your shirt, it can actually work against you. Save the graphic t-shirts for weekend barbecues.

Embrace “smart casual.”

For plumbing interviews (especially skills-based interviews that require the performance of demo work), you want to find a happy medium between casual dress and formal clothes. This means something called “smart casual.”

For men, that means:

  • Long-sleeved button-down shirts.
  • Collared shirts like Polos.
  • Khakis or dark jeans.
  • Combing or styling your hair.
  • Clean work shoes or boots.

For women, this means:

  • Button-down blouse or shirt.
  • Collared shirts like Polos.
  • Dark jeans or khakis.
  • Avoiding skirts or dresses.
  • Tying back long hair.
  • Clean work shoes or boots.

When in doubt, wear the best version of whatever employees wear in the workplace. Check out the company’s social media to see what their workers wear on the job.

3. Choose professional colors.

Believe it or not, color choice matters. Interviewers prefer the color blue. It implies trustworthiness, honesty, and credibility. But don’t choose light or eccentric shades of blue; go for darker shades like navy or royal blue.

Unless you’re interviewing for an executive or managerial position, avoid colors like black. An all-black outfit makes you look too aloof. Colors like orange are too loud for interviewers, and it’s actually the worst color you could wear to a plumbing interview. (Unfortunately, this means you’ll need to find another time and place for that cherished macaroni-orange shirt.)

Watch your choice of patterns, too. Solid colors do best during interviews.

4. Polish your appearance.

Plumbing can be a dirty job, but you still need to look polished and professional during your plumbing interview. You don’t necessarily need a full suit, but you should look like you put in some effort. That means:

  • Checking your outfit for stains, wrinkles, and spots.
  • Practicing good hygiene. Clean teeth and a neat haircut go a long way here.
  • Wearing appropriate outerwear. Bring a jacket just in case! A sudden downpour could destroy your carefully-curated appearance.
  • Taking it easy on the accessories. Keep hats or jewelry to a minimum. A wedding band or watch is reasonable. If you wear a hat, always remove it once you’re indoors.
  • Avoiding sneakers; instead, wear clean work boots. You don’t need immaculately polished shoes, but you shouldn’t track mud in the door, either.
  • Wearing a belt. Plumbers are famous for “plumber’s crack,” and your interviewer doesn’t want an eye-full if you need to do a test project. Protect your reputation with a belt.

Ultimately, attention, detail, and common sense will take you far when you’re preparing for a plumbing interview. Opt for comfortable, neat clothes that show you’re ready for work. If you’re still unsure of what to wear, ask the hiring manager. They can give you more context and clearly establish their expectations. Remember, you want to make those first 90 seconds as perfect as possible.