How to dress for a job interview

Dress for job interview

There are plenty of visual guides on the web to tell you how to dress for a job interview and one thing that struck me was how generic they are. Culture and values are different for every company, and this impacts how they expect you to dress when being interviewed.

Google, for example, have a very relaxed dress code (read: no dress code). However, this doesn’t mean you can turn up to an interview in your favourite Metallica t-shirt. Jason Warner, Google’s in-house headhunter recommends looking at what others doing the job are wearing and suggests, “don’t dress for the job you want to have, dress 30% above your level. More than that, and it will look like you’re trying too hard.” At Google, he says, the dress code goes like this:

  • Sales and operations people wear quality shirts, nice slacks or khakis, and Ecco shoes. You can get away with wearing Dockers.
  • Everyone else wears jeans, T-shirts, and Ugg boots.

So you need to dress about 30% above that level for your interview – a bit smarter than you’ll actually be expected to wear from day-to-day.

Not every business is like Google and the important point here is to look at your target company before making your choice. What are its employees wearing? How do they present themselves from day to day?

For many office jobs, smart attire will be expected. Hugo boss offer a great guide to dressing for a formal interview like this. But if you were to show up at a construction site kitted out in a Boss suit, you may leave the wrong impression. It will immediately be difficult for your prospective employer to imagine you on site. This is why every job interview outfit needs to be tailored to the company.

Of course, there are some universal truths that apply, no matter where you are going. Your clothes need to be clean, ironed and free from tears (yes, even deliberate ones!). Your shoes should be clean and suitable for the site you’re visiting. Your personal hygiene needs to be excellent, regardless of the role because it shows care and attention to detail which almost every role  requires.

Jewellery and accessories are always an interesting point – especially if you have multiple piercings. For some outlets, lots of piercings fit into the culture or vibe. “If you’re applying to a store that sells hippie-style clothes and unique body jewellery for example, multiple piercings probably aren’t going to be an issue. In fact, any store where the customer base is likely to have several piercings will probably welcome their staff having the same,” the team at note. “But if you’re applying for a formal job interview, keep jewellery to a minimum – a simple pair of pull-through earrings and a stylish watch or bangle are all that’s needed to finish off your outfit.” sell a lot of their plain pull-through earrings for office attire. “They look really stylish but they’re also fuss and distraction free. People also find them really comfy to wear and even sleep on, so they can just get on with the job.”

For any interview besides perhaps a sporting role or a job in a sneaker shop, sports footwear should be avoided. This is far too casual and won’t go down well with employers. Overly fancy and awkward footwear can also make you look a little ‘high maintenance’ as well. Wear something that you’d normally wear to do the role – unless it’s a construction job, in which case wear something stylish but sensible.

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