How Should You Dress for Your Interview?

 Interview panel listening to applicant

Have you ever heard the adage, "dress for the job you want, not for the job you have?" In generations past, it was true that if you were interviewing for any white-collar position, you wore a nice suit or dress because that's what professionals wore. This was seen as an almost absolute interview rule. Today, businesses have different cultures depending on the industry, making no rules sure. Chances are, if you are moving from one job to another in the same field, you have some idea what the culture of your desired employer, but if you are jumping to a completely different field, you need to do your homework before even heading into an interview. This is even a prudent move if the move is lateral. 


For one thing, many businesses have gone through drastic culture changes due to the pandemic. Companies that had once enforced strict dress codes have since redefined the parameter of "business casual" as face-to-face interactions have been minimized. 

Also, remember that a certain amount of latitude is given to upper management based on a "bank of credibility." You won't have that cache to fall back on when interviewing for a position, so it is always advisable to err on the safer side. Wearing something that the CEO might have on could end up costing you a job.


Internet Research


Most competitive companies have a website. If you weren't already on that website prepping for your interview, you are already making a mistake. Knowing as much about the company where you want to work is a no-brainer, so why not utilize that same tool to discern how to present yourself? Many companies clearly include an entire "dress code policy" page. More enterprising websites have areas for prospective employees to check out the culture, including pictures!


Ask in advance


Don't trust the accuracy of website searches? Go straight to the horse's mouth and call or email the human resources department for the company you are meeting with as soon as you know you are scheduled to be interviewed. Even if you aren't comfortable asking, "what should I wear?" you can still inquire if ties are appropriate or if my interviewers will be dressed in business suits. If you STILL aren't satisfied that you won't be awkwardly under or overdressed, Essex Employment Agency is uniquely positioned to get the inside scoop on what to expect and how to dress for success.