You already know how important it is to prepare your resume and your mind before an interview, but what about your interview outfit? Follow these tips.
Are you hanging onto the job ladder by a thread?
And we mean that literally. Too many people have lost good opportunities because of a small detail on their interview outfits.
Those people didn’t plan in advance. It might have just been a missing button or a few loose threads, but those details show you didn’t prepare.
It’s okay if you don’t know what to wear yet, we’ve got your guide below.
Plan in Advance
The worst thing you could do is not think about what you’re wearing to the interview until the day of. Take a page out of women’s playbooks and plan your outfit in advance.
Why bother? You’ll have time to get that shirt dry cleaned or ironed, do your research on outfit type, and be less stressed that day.
When you’re checking out potential shirts or pants, look closely at them. Bring them into a brightly lit room, with blue-white light if possible. Office lighting is usually pretty harsh.
Look for stains on your shirt. Are the armpits discolored? Can you see stains up the front of the shirt? What about the collar?
Are there fraying or missing buttons? These are things that might not seem like a big deal to you, but they come off as saying you don’t care.
Do Some Research
What do you know about the company you’re applying to? Have you been in the office? Know people that work there?
The reason we ask is that there are different office dress levels. If you walk into a car dealership, you’re not likely to find someone in a full three-piece suit.
Slacks and a nice shirt are more likely. But if it’s a Ferrari dealership, the dress goes up a level.
So, how do you know what the dress code is like if you’ve never been there? It’s time to use those Facebook stalking skills you developed years ago.
Find their Facebook or Website and look for work culture posts. Do they seem laid back and chill or more formal?
On their website, it’s likely they’ll have pictures or a video of their workspace. Can you see what people are wearing in it? Are there jackets on their chairs? Are they wearing ties?
Note that if they have portraits (headshots) of employees, they likely dressed up for that occasion.
Startups are usually pretty laid back, but finical firms and corporations call for a shirt and tie.
Ask the Recruiter
You’re always welcome to ask the recruiter what the dress code is. Showing that you ask questions so you can come the most prepared is a great thing.
They’ll likely say one of three things: business professional (or just professional), business casual, or casual.
Here’s what those words mean.
Dress your best. You’ll need the full three-piece suit for this office. Make sure it’s ironed and cuffed to perfection.
A matching but conservative tie is appropriate. Wear dress shoes (and socks), maybe even throw on some cufflinks.
If you need an example of great suits, these by Stropdassen should do the trick.
You can leave the sports coat at home, this time. Unless you’re opting to wear a (nice!) dark pair of jeans. Jeans and a dress shirt with a sports coat is appropriate at this level.
But it’s safer to wear a pair of slacks or khakis. Pair them will a well-fitting dress shirt. You can add a tie if you like, but you don’t have to.
Finish it off with dress shoes.
Now, if the recruiter says the office is casual, then it doesn’t mean you get free reign. You still have to present yourself as a grown, functioning adult.
A pair of khakis and a short sleeve polo, tucked in is the right choice. You can wear dress shoes or something like Sperry’s. Stay away from the sweet sneaker kicks, unless you’re interviewing at a shoe store or something.
You still need to make sure it’s not dirty or wrinkled and that everything goes.
Colors and Patterns
When you’re putting your outfit together, you want to choose simple, solid colors. A blue or grey suit with a white shirt is classic. You can have a little fun with your tie, but it needs to stay subtle in pattern.
If you’d like to throw a pocket square in there, that’s where you can show a little personality. It’s up to you though, so feel it out.
For a more casual office, a plaid or lightly patterned shirt will work. Stay away from large logos or loud colors.
Run it by your mom or your girlfriend, any female in your life. They’ll let you know if you’re allowed to leave the house.
Wear Fun Socks
This is for you, not for them. There’s no reason an interviewer should see your socks. But if you have a kooky pair with tacos on them, wear them.
It’s small and silly, but something like that can make you feel more like yourself when you’re nervous.
Don’t be Fashionably Late
We know this isn’t technically an outfit tip, but it needs to be said. On time for an interview is five minutes early. On time, is late.
Your Interview Outfits
Put together one or two options for your interview a week or as in advance as you can. Make sure you do a run to the dry cleaner, if necessary.
Interview outfits are about showing the company you clean up nice, not about showing who you are. Your personality and resume should have that in the (leather) bag.
Feel like you need to come in with some business suggestions to sweeten the deal? Here you go.