What To Wear To An Interview

What To Wear To An Interview
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By Mike Simpson

Give yourself a pat on the back.  After all…

You did it!

Only a week ago you got that call that you had a job interview coming, and a long, stressful preparation lay ahead of you.

“What do I need to study?  What questions am I going to be asked?  And what the heck is a behavioral interview question?“, are just some of the questions you probably asked yourself.

But guess what?  You figured it out, maybe even with a little help from The Interview Guys!

OK, so no what?

Well, you’re not quite at the finish line yet because you’ve yet to actually have your interview, which means you’ve yet to make your first impression.

And what’s (unfortunately) the biggest part of a first impression?  Well the way you look, naturally.

Making A First Impression

This world is in many ways a wonderful place.  Unfortunately, one thing that we haven’t been able to fully grasp as a species is that there is almost always more than meets the eye regarding someone’s appearance, and to take the cliche one step further, one shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”

In other words, when it comes to your job interview, it DOES matter how you dress and how you present yourself because your first impression is going to go a long way in determining how well you fit in with the company.

Why bring this up?

Well, because I don’t want you to waste any time or brain power banging your hands on the table or shouting from the hilltops about how unfair, insensitive or inappropriate this is.

It just IS THE WAY IT IS unfortunately.

So now that we can both agree on that, the most important question is “What do we do about it?”

Make The Hiring Manager “See” You In The Position

This is your ultimate goal, and should define how you present yourself in the interview.

You want the hiring manager to subconsciously (or hopefully consciously) visualize you as a part of the team already, and your appearance is the first thing they will analyze when making this consideration.

So think about this…

If you’re applying for a job where you’re expected to be a door-to-door Bible salesman, it might not be in your best interest to show up to your interview dressed like a dominatrix.

Now, this is an extreme example, but you get the picture.

You want to try and get a feel for the work environment and dress accordingly.  Here are some categories of dress along with their corresponding industries:

  • Conservative: Corporations, financial institutions, accounting firms, law offices.
  • Business Casual: Sales, government agencies, education, retail, small companies, information tech, engineering, real estate.
  • Casual: Construction. repair, landscaping, plumbing and any other job where you may get dirty (obviously).
  • Creative/Fashionable: Fashion, entertainment, graphic design, video game design, music.

What you need to do is figure out which industry that you are interviewing in and the culture of the company (or even department/team) that you’ll be working in and try to match up as best as possible.

Here’s a great chart from Business Insider that can give you a little hint as to how to dress for your interview:

how-to-dress-like-a-leader-in-any-work-environment-infographic-professional-dress-interview-attire

(Now obviously these are guidelines. I don’t think you need to break your back trying to “conform” to these guidelines. These are just to help you get an idea…)

How To Find Out The “Dress Culture” Of Your Company

Believe it or not, this is a pretty easy thing to do.

The easiest way to find out how people dress at a certain company is to ask questions.

Do you have any contacts within the company?  If so, ask them!  What do people around the office wear everyday?  What did they wear for their interview?

It shouldn’t be too hard for you to get a feel for what an industry standard is for your industry and role.  Look it up online, there’s a lot of info out there.

Try websites like Indeed.com.  They have great forums where you can post questions.  This is a great resource to find all kinds of information regarding both dress code and anything else relating to your company.

TRY THIS TACTIC:

1. Head over to the Indeed Forum

2. Search for your company’s culture or work attire (Or anything else you want to know about the company!). For example: