Interviewing in 2013

A lot has changed over the past decade when it comes to the corporate standard. A lot of companies aren’t worried about tattoos and piercings and many have gone to a simpler standard of dress.

I read an article on LinkedIn today that mentioned that you don’t always have to dress in a business suit for an interview. If you haven’t done your research on the companies culture, that can be a strike used against you when you interview somewhere.

I thought that was strange and more than likely untrue. I work at an agency where in the winter we wear jeans and snow boots and in the summer we wear flip-flops and shorts. We are a very casual laid back office. When I came on my interview though, I wore a shirt, tie and suit for my interview. Yes, technically I was overdressed for the rest of the culture in the office but I wasn’t part of that culture yet. I was someone on the outside who was looking to start a career with this agency. The one woman who I had scheduled my interview with even apologized in front of her boss for not explaining to me what the dress code here was.

My thought is this: you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Also, you only have one chance to make a first impression. It’s better to be overdressed then under dressed. I think that your clothing doesn’t really decide whether or not you can fit in with the culture of a company; your attitude does. Is it rude then to ask the person who is setting up the interview what the office “dress code” is? If they told you casual, would you wear sneakers and jeans to an interview? I feel like the answer should always be “no” to that question. Granted, in the summer time, I may not wear a suit jacket to an interview but you best believe that I have a button down shirt with a tie and dress pants on. I think that it’s almost rude not to dress up for your new potential boss. Image

I don’t ever tell the interns that come in for interviews with me about the office attire unless they specifically ask. I’ve done interviews with them for over a year now and not one has asked me about the attire and all have dressed in a professional manner. I go on to tell them that now they are part of the team, that they don’t need to dress professionally. I think that it shows a sign that you actually care about this interview and that you are to be taken seriously.


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