Here’s What You Should — And Shouldn’t — Wear On A Job Interview
What’s fun about a Job Interview? Aside from getting the job, pretty much nothing. Nil. From knowing what to wear to the third degree interrogation, it’s just not particularly fun. BUT, knowing what (and what not) to wear is a pretty big deal…
But don’t cry: We’re gonna get you situated. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t wear to ace a job interview.
1. First thing’s first: Remember that It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.*
“Personally I coach my candidates to dress for the position above the one they are interviewing for. Never EVER arrive wearing anything less than a dark blue or black two piece suit matched with a mellow tie and socks (for men) black or dark brown tone (polished) shoes. For the ladies we coach them to dress in a conservative top under a suit jacket and slacks or knee length skirt with flats or professional heels and never EVER BARE LEGS! We also recommend all candidates be aware of their personal hygiene from teeth, manicured hands, natural/neutral makeup, lightly fragranced cologne or perfume or none at all.” — Kristie B., recruiter for IT staffing agency Modis
*Note: Dressing in any way resembling this toddler is probably a bad idea.
2. Dress with the company in mind.
“Dress for the client. If you wear a suit when you interview at Fossil they’ll think you’re a Narc.” — Andrew A., recruiter for IT staffing agency Modis, who works mainly with watch company Fossil
3. Wear clothes that fit.
“One time we interviewed this guy for a production coordinator position. All the producers at the time were female. So we all have him in the room and immediately knew it was a mistake. His button up shirt barely fit him and his belly was hanging out of the bottom. His jeans were torn on the bottoms like he had just cut them off. He sits back in his chair, slouching with his arms cross and says ‘so all you ladies think you can handle all this man?’ Interview was over.” — April, graphic designer
6. When in doubt, wear a blazer.
“I love when people get ~dressy~ for interviews at BuzzFeed—I’d rather they deliver that they’re a culture fit in their speech and attitude, but I really like to see that people know what it means to be professional at work… and I think that’s easily conveyed by wearing at least a blazer.” — Rachel, social media director at BuzzFeed
5. Pay attention to what your interviewer tells you about the place when picking your outfit.
“I’ve had so many girls show up in heels even after I’ve told them this a warehouse so please dress casually. In the past 10 years I’d say at least 1/3 of applicants showed up in heels.” — Maresa, owner Dusty Rose Vintage
6. If you’re interviewing remotely, think about the rest of the space that your interviewer will see.
I appreciate it when people have on a shirt that seems like more than just a t-shirt/hoodie. It’s weird to wear a suit, but I had one kid do that. I will also say that I think it’s tacky to have a messy room in the background (and I also know when you’re sitting right up against your wall to hide your messy room) and it’s nice to be properly lit. I guess that’s kind of like dressing for an interview if you’re going to be on Google hangout with your coworkers 3-5 hours a week? — Cayden, chief technology officer at the nonprofit 18 Million Rising
7. Just say NO to hoodies and knit caps.
“I think things like hoodies and knit caps and shorts are kind of inappropriate for interviews even if you are going to work in a pretty casual place.” — Lisa, news director, BuzzFeed
8. Take your goddamn sunglasses off.
“I’m a manager at a financial regulator. I have had someone come in for an interview wearing a pastel pink golf shirt with a popped collar. Not kidding. Also, sunglasses are fantastic at protecting your eyes but take them off your head when you interview.” — Jamie, manager at a financial regulator
9. Don’t overdo it with the perfume.
“Avoid perfume: Interviews are usually held in small conference rooms. I once interviewed a woman and let’s just say she stayed with us for a couple of days!” —Kash, recruiter at the E.W. Scripps Company
10. And a couple of other things: Don’t bring a snack.
“I once had a young lady bring a can of Diet Coke (with her lipstick-stained straw in it) to an interview and sip on it throughout. She was an intern at Vogue, so maybe that was considered ‘industry standard’ there!” — Anna, editorial director at an advertising firm
11. And don’t bring FRIENDS, you monster.
“We had someone come in for an intern interview and she brought her friend with her.” — Katie, co-founder of K/LLER Collection jewelry
12. Be yourself. But, like, the best version of yourself.
“I look for people who have the confidence to be themselves. Do they represent their own brand authentically? The way they dress is a part that. So then the question for me is do I believe them, and do they bring a perspective that we don’t currently have? In short, be yourself and don’t second guess your attire.” — Tim, in brand marketing