ProfessionWise

Pursuing Your Career

Interview Tip#7: Dress for Success

What to wear?

So, what should you wear to a job interview? Sure, a number of readers will roll their eyes and laugh off this topic, thinking everyone knows the dress code rules. Funny thing is, I’ve been in way too many interviews where it was clear the interviewee was clueless about dressing for success. The image above? I needed a headshot for an article. As it was a warm, muggy Buffalo summer day, I sure the heck wasn’t putting on a full suite for a snap of my head and shoulders. I then had my wife take this photo as this blog post popped right in my head!

You see, many job seekers show up to a job interview wearing a nice suit, pantsuit or dress. A sportcoat works well as does business casual attire in many instances such as applying for jobs in retail and restaurants (I didn’t need a suit when I applied for my dishwashing job back in the late 80s). Now, sure, there are going to be readers who think that this classic system of interview dress is draconian to say the least. Yet, twenty plus years of interviewing job seekers has proven that a large percentage of members on hiring committees ABSO-FRIGGIN-LUTELY DO take note of what an interviewee wears to an interview. Showing up in torn jeans, a wrinkled shit, and sneakers is likely going to kill a interviewee’s chances of getting the job before the interbiew even starts.

Unfair? It may very well be, and I am sure that many interviewees were not hired because of what they wore (even if they were the most qualified candidate based on resumes). Yet, fair or not, I don’t doubt this has occurred. Countless times. So, what’s the deal? Why do interviewers care about what an interviewee wears? Some argue that a failure to dress in formal business attire indicates that the interviewee would do the same thing once hired, thereby becoming an embarassment for the company. Others may see a casually dressed interviewee as someone who does not respect the interviewer. Right or wrong, these are general concerns of hiring managers and committees when an interviewee shows up in jeans and a t-shirt. Business formal or business casual is the way to go. FYI – when not at work, I am in shorts… even in the middle of a Buffalo winter. Yet, I sure as hell don’t recommend shorts for any interviewee even if the day is above 90 and humid as hell.

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