Too many advice articles these days offer generic advice on what you have to wear for a job interview. But not all of them take into account the type of company you’re applying to join.
You know that it’s important to make a good impression at a job interview and that your choice of interview attire is a big part of that. But dressing for job interviews is a lot more complicated than it used to be. You have to take into account that not all companies are the same.
What to Wear: How to Dress for a Job Interview
Do Your Homework
There are no longer any hard and fast rules regarding dress codes and company culture these days. Sure, you can play the percentages and wear a suit when you’re entering a “conservative” industry like law and finance. If you want to join a law firm or a bank, you better be wearing a nice suit.
But then other companies, such as those in the tech and entertainment industries, have more relaxed rules. You may want to dress similarly with your interviewer if you want to connect and seem like you belong. Plenty of stories online tell about how awkward things can get when you wear an expensive suit while your interviewer wears hoodies and casual clothes.
So do your research and find out what to wear. Go to the company website and look at what the people (especially those in your rank) are wearing in videos and photos. See if you have contacts there, or if your contacts have contacts there and get some tips.
Take Note of the Stated Dress Codes
Like parties, companies have dress codes too. But sometimes it’s hard to pin down what various dress codes really mean. So here’s a guide to help you out:
- Casual. This does not mean cutoff shorts and flip-flops. You still need to look somewhat professional because you haven’t gotten the job yet. Your best bet if you’re a woman is to go with a simple work dress or a shirt with a collar along with a pencil skirt or pants.
- Business casual. This means you still don’t need a suit. But you may want to go with a polo shirt or a button-down shirt with slacks. Wear dress shoes and a belt. For women, a more conservative dress will be appropriate. You can also wear a sweater or a blouse, dress pants or a skirt, and dress shoes or boots.
- Business professional. Finally, this means you need a proper suit. Go with a suit jacket (if you’re a man) or a blazer along with a button-down shirt and a tie. Complete the outfit with the suit pants and dress shoes. For women, formal and conservative work attire will work along with heels.
So what else should you know about dressing for interviews?
- If you’re undecided between 2 outfits, pick the outfit that feels more “conservative”.
- Look neat. Make sure your clothes are nicely pressed and clean. Don’t go in dirty shoes.
- Keep it simple. You want your skills and abilities to be remembered—not your clothes. So don’t use too many accessories and too much makeup. Don’t use perfumes and scents aside from your deodorant.
- Prepare your clothes the day before. Look them over for imperfections, and make sure they still fit you!
The attire can make a person—and you want to look professional. Wear the right clothes for a job interview, and you’ll make it easier for them to take note of your skills.