With the plethora of advice available concerning interview attire, it’s no wonder that confusion abounds. With my five years of interviewing experience in investment banking and fashion industries both under my belt, I can confidently say that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to dressing for an interview.
Rather than play it safe with a standard black suit, why not custom-fit your wardrobe to the company and industry of the job you’re interviewing for? Here are some helpful tips on selecting that perfect outfit:
1. Do your detective work.
Do you know anyone who works at the organization where you’re interviewing? Reach out to them and inquire about their daily wardrobe as well as the general atmosphere of the office. Is it a professional atmosphere or more relaxed? Are people dressing in similar ways or are they experimenting with creativity? Although speaking directly with someone from that company is ideal, talking with somebody who functions at an analogous business within your industry serves as a suitable second-best option.
2. When it doubt, ask!
When you’ve already been in contact with a representative from the company to finalize your interview details, don’t hesitate to ask any additional questions you may have. Tack them on when confirming the date and time of your meeting as well as its location – it won’t hurt to inquire about workplace attire either!
3. Understand the different types of dress codes.
When it comes to choosing an outfit for the workplace, you should understand that there are three primary dress codes: business formal, business casual, and casual. However, even within each of these categories exists a multitude of acceptable choices; thus when in doubt always opt for something more refined than what is expected. If your company operates under a casual dress code policy then I recommend selecting garments similar to those worn in businesses with a “business-casual” approach. Furthermore if interviewing at a fashion-related organization be sure to consider wearing items from their brand or ones that reflect their style aesthetic.
4. When you have incomplete information, play it safe.
When you don’t have access to any distinctive info about the company before your meeting, it’s best to play safe with a versatile ensemble. A great mix is pairing slacks or a skirt and blouse – this way, you can bring along an additional layer like a blazer which will let you gauge the atmosphere when you arrive at the reception. If no one else is in full formalwear – put that jacket away! But throw it on if needed!
5. Steer clear of a few don’ts.
No matter the situation, there are specific elements to avoid in any business setting. To look professional and remain focused on the interview, steer clear of anything too short, tight-fitting, or revealing; ripped jeans, sheer fabrics, and overly loud clothing should all be avoided. Simply throwing a blazer over an outfit does not automatically make it appropriate for this kind of environment! Use your best judgment when dressing for important occasions such as a job interview – professionalism is key!
Let go of the traditional black suit when it comes to interviewing dressing! Instead, make yourself presentable in a professional way that both reflects your personality and also reflects the company’s office culture. We’ve all seen Mark Zuckerberg rock his hoodie -it emphasizes how different industries can have their own set of rules for dress codes.
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