What to Wear to an InterviewAug 10th, 2010 | By Kevin Harris | Category: Employment, Lead Article
I thought I knew what to wear to an interview, but recently, I learned that what I had always thought was the right way to dress for an interview was absolutely wrong. And I was shown some pretty good reasons for it as well.
I had always heard that you should find out how they dress in the company and then dress one step nicer. This way you look like you could fit in with the company but still appear “dressed up”. I always laughed inwardly at the guy waiting to be interviewed after me in a suit and tie.
Boy was I wrong.
I recently sat down with several employers who have interviewed hundreds of people for various companies and found out their opinions. I also researched many websites like monster.com, about.com, and collegegrad.com and was surprised at how much they all agreed with each other.
Apparently, the workplace dress code is irrelevant. Interviews have their own dress code. Employers like it when you dress up for the interview in a suit and tie. It shows them how important the job is to you.
The word “conservative” is repeated over and over for both men and women. Dark suits and conservative ties, dark polished shoes, dark socks, clean conservative hair style, no facial hair, no visible body piercings or tattoos, and no strong smells – including cologne or perfume.
I heard several stories about people not being hired because of the way they looked or smelled – which doesn’t seem fair – but what can you do. They say that our opinions of people are based over 50% on appearances – and when you have to form an opinion of someone whom you only spoke to for a few minutes it is guaranteed to be a large factor.
One employer who always wears khakis and a polo shirt in the workplace was disappointed when the man he planned to hire showed up in khakis and a polo shirt to their meeting. The employer had dressed up for the occasion in a suit, and he asked the almost hired man why he didn’t considered it important enough for him to dress up for their meeting. The man left without a job.
So basically, it doesn’t matter what the job is. You should dress up in a conservative dark suit and not give future employers any reason to be distracted by your clothes or extreme style. They should remember your qualifications and excellent responses and not your multiple piercings or purple mohawk. Your appearance should say I am very serious about getting this job.