When deciding what to wear to a job interview, you want to fit in to the party culture—but besides, of course, stand out from the pack—and navigating the two can be a challenge. Nowadays, flush some of the strictest companies have relaxed their dress codes to adapt to the startup-fueled, tech-first economy, but what ’ s appropriate distillery varies from diligence to industry. And despite the fact that we ’ vitamin d all like to think our sum up speaks louder than our pencil dame, what you wear during the interview process remains identical authoritative .
“ First impressions are critical. What you wear is the inaugural thing people see, before you even say a give voice, ” says Barry Drexler, the founder of Expert Interview Coach. “ [ Hiring managers ] evaluate your appearance because they don ’ thyroxine know you however, and they don ’ t have a distribute to go on. ”
It ’ randomness during this first gear interaction that people size you up based on everything from your handshake to your choice of shoes. Whoever is hiring needs to be able to visualize you in the placement they ’ re trying to fill—and that doesn ’ t inevitably mean showing up in something extra-conservative.
“ Recent grads particularly are pisces out of water, ” says Jill Jacinto, managing editor and associate film director of editorial and communications for WORKS by Nicole Williams, a party dedicated to helping unseasoned women find jobs. “ They frequently get advice from their parents, who say they need a classic suit. My ma, who hasn ’ triiodothyronine worked in years, took me courtship shop. And I was taking her advice, which now seems amusing. We need to break away from the power suit brain. ”
so, how do we know what ’ sulfur allow and what ’ s not ? “ It ’ s all about understanding the company culture, ” says Ryan Kahn, founder of The Hired Group and MTV ’ s Hired career coach .
That means everything from knowing if the executive team will probable be dressed in hoodies ( and what that means for you as a hopeful employee ) to understanding what colors are probable to be acceptable—a pinko bag is probably going to look a set more at family in an interview with Kate Spade New York, for case, than it will at Bloomberg. “ You want to wear colors that show you fit in the caller ’ south acculturation and that show your personality, but in insidious way, ” says Rahel Berihu, a wardrobe stylist and longtime tennessean at Dress For Success, which provides support and professional dress to promote women ’ s economic independence. “ You don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want your outfit to be overpowering or distracting. ”
Though everyone we spoke to agreed that overdressed is better than underdress, neither is a particularly good count. “ People in creative firms might see you as less creative, a little edgy, not person who will roll up their sleeves and get dirty, ” says Frank Dahill , senior recruiter and stigmatization expert at Sam & Lori, a New York recruitment firm that focuses on creative industries .
Below, our experts weigh in on how to put your best foot forward, fashion-wise, in a caper interview in five different fields.
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If You’re Interviewing For: A Creative Job
Examples: writer, editor, photo editor, film, graphic designer, art director
- While jobs in creative fields give you a bit more leeway to be, well, creative with your attire, here a common pitfall is wanting to show too much personality right off the bat. “I’m not worried about personality in your clothes,” says Dahill. “If you have no personality, clothes won’t help. I’d rather see you be more conservative.”
- While you shouldn’t show up in a skirt suit, don’t show up in something wild or trend-driven either.
- Jacinto advises to “tone it down and apply the rule of taking one piece off before the interview.”
- Be comfortable. Jacinto proposes trying your outfit on before the interview to “know how your clothing reacts in different situations.”
- Shoes should be closed-toe, pants should be black or dark denim, and accessories kept to a minimum.
If You’re Interviewing For: A Client-Based Corporate Job
Examples: law firm, real estate, public relations, sales, marketing, advertising or account executives
- Be well-groomed. Don’t wear too much makeup and have your hair clean and simple. Never wear perfume.
- Invest in a nice blazer. This can be used to dress up anything from simple blouses to well-cut trousers. Again, shoes should be closed-toe and no higher than three inches.
- Keep colors conservative, says Kahn. “Keep it classy. Nothing too vibrant, bright, or distracting.”
- Berihu advises against “bright colors, distracting prints, or anything lacy, sheer, or low-cut.” Keep the attention on you, not your clothing.
If You’re Interviewing For: A Fashion Job
Examples: fashion editor, buyer, stylist, designer, merchandiser, assistant, sales
- According to Drexler, a mistake people make when interviewing for a fashion-related job is to make a broad-brush assumption that they should dress edgy or super-on-trend.
- What you wear here depends on the specific job and company you’re interviewing for: Keep the aesthetics of the brand in mind while getting dressed, but don’t show up in a head-to-toe runway look.
- Keep clothes simple and instead make accessories the focal point. Have stylish shoes, a sharp bag, and modern jewelry displaying your great taste.
- Don’t try to be too fashion-forward. You want people to think “she looks presentable and stylish in that dress” as opposed to “wow, that’s a really expensive designer dress.” Clothes shouldn’t be a distraction.
If You’re Interviewing For: A Finance Job
Examples: banking, consulting, hedge funds, accounting, insurance, research analyst, stock analyst
- In finance—at least at the interview stage—not much has changed. Don’t push the envelope, and appear conservative and professional.
- Wear a dark, two-piece pantsuit or skirt suit. Lighten it up with a white or softly-colored blouse and conservative accessories.
- “Look for pants that are fitted and have a bit of a taper,” says Berihu. “And if your suit has a skirt, it should be knee-length or below and tailored appropriately.”
- If you’re wearing tights, Jacinto suggests bringing an extra pair in case they run. “You never know what will happen the day of, so be prepared.”
- On that note, don’t wear colorful or patterned tights, open-toe shoes, super-high heels, or low-cut tops.
If You’re Interviewing For: A Tech/Startup Job
Examples: engineer, coder, product manager, designer, communications, content strategist, IT
- Startups often have a young staff and foster a collegiate atmosphere, so the biggest fear people have here is being overdressed in a sea of hipsters.
- A good rule of thumb is to dress a half-step up from everyone else “so the person interviewing you knows you’re dressed up for an interview,” says Dahill.
- Coming in wearing a corporate-style suit makes it look like you know nothing about the industry. “If you’re going to a startup in a three-piece suit, you may say the right things, but you look like you’re looking for an environment that’s different, and the company might think they cant offer you want you want,” explains Jacinto.
- Show that you’re serious about the position without being overdressed. Opt for dark denim and a tucked-in blouse, or a stylish skirt with a chambray button-down and blazer or basic sweater, and accessorize from there.
A version of this article was originally published in January 2014.
Category : Fashion