So many people are missing the point when it comes to how to dress for a job interview.
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a lot of posts (particularly on LinkedIn) on the subject, with many different viewpoints so I thought it would be good to offer up my take.
How To Dress For A Job Interview
Quite rightfully, there are lots of job seekers out there who take the stance that if a company is willing to judge you solely on your appearance, then they wouldn’t want to work for that company. I completely get that and I 100% agree with that.
In my experience, however, this is a limiting belief. You aren’t looking at the situation from both sides. What I mean by that is that every company has their own unique culture and dress code. That goes for most industries as a whole. For example, if I am a punk rocker with tattoos on my neck and a mohican, and I like to wear leather trousers every day, I wouldn’t fit into the clean cut corporate world of an investment bank. I just wouldn’t. And why would I want to?
Similarly, if someone is coming out of a heavy corporate environment and like to wear a 3 piece suit to work and bring a briefcase every day, that’s not going to work in a startup or a digital agency environment where everyone wears jeans and a t-shirt. That’s why knowing how to dress for a job interview is so important.
Now, before the barrage of abuse begins (I love punk rockers by the way!), hear me out…
Do the research
Knowing how to dress for a job interview is all about doing the research. You should be doing some digging in advance of your interview to find out what the day to day dress code is, and also what the interview dress code is (because they may be different). Some companies like you to turn up for the interview in a suit, even though the day to day dress code is casual dress. Odd, I know, but it happens all the time.
This research goes beyond simply finding out how to dress for a job interview, it also gives you the opportunity to figure out if the company vibe and culture seem like a good fit for your personality and your values. Does the company you are interviewing with care at all about what you wear in the office? Do people with pink hair and nose piercings work there already? Do the company values align with my own personal values?
If they don’t, then don’t bother going to the interview. It would be a waste of time.
Now, I think the world would a better and much more interesting place if someone with tattoos on their face could work at an investment bank and be allowed to express themselves freely in what they wear to work every day. That is simply not the world we live in, unfortunately.
You have to find what fits for you and be true to yourself. Above all else, you should do what makes you happy. If that means working somewhere that encourages you to wear fancy dress every day, then that is where you should work. If that means working somewhere where they expect you to dress in a shirt and tie, then do it.
In my opinion, corporate dress codes are most definitely on the decline and I think that is ultimately a good thing. That is because I truly believe that in the future, dress code will become less important as flexible working becomes the norm. Until that happens, job seekers should be doing the basic research into a company to ensure there is a fit before committing their time to attending any interview. Knowing how to dress for a job interview is actually about understanding if you truly want to work for a company.
Have you ever turned up to an interview wearing the wrong thing? I’d love to hear your stories so please leave me a comment below…