You have been invited for an onsite interview at the company you’ve had your sights on for months. Aside from being prepared for the interview (e.g.: reading up on the company, knowing about the person/people you will be interviewing with, having a list of questions you want to ask them about the company and the position), deciding what to wear is just as important.
I tend to go by the rule, “You can never be overdressed.” This is true in almost any scenario. This is especially true in interviews. Whether you’re interviewing at a chic start-up company in Silicon Valley (y’know, the ones that wear flip flops and baseball hats to work), or a prestigious Fortune 500 company, I suggest the following guidelines.
- Dark suit. This means black, brown, navy. Solid color or pinstripes. Please, no obnoxious plaid or polka dots.
- White shirt. Go with the crisp, white, button down shirt. Leave the print and colored shirts for the holiday parties.
- Tie. I feel this is optional. But, should you choose to wear a tie, go with a power color – blue or red. Make it your “statement” piece.
- Dress socks. You laugh, but I’m serious. Please wear tall dress socks. I have had candidates come in wearing white tube socks.
- Nice shoes. Polish them. Make sure the laces are not tattered. Shoes say a lot about a man.
- Dark suit. Again, this means black, brown, navy. Solid or pinstripe. Skirts are ok, but keep them conservative – no more than a couple inches above the knees. Although, I do feel like women have a little more flexibility in this option. I don’t feel a jacket is always necessary, as a sweater (in a neutral, solid color) should do just fine.
- Simple jewelry. Don’t wear anything that will distract you, distract the interviewer from you, or that will make a lot of noise when you move (think: bangles).
- Pull your hair off your face. Yes, bangs are pretty. But no one wants to see you fumble with that piece that gets in your eye one too many times.
- Same rule applies. Wear nice shoes. Flats or a shoe with a 1-2″ heel should work just fine.
As shallow as it may sound, first impressions are everything. You will be judged by what you are wearing, how you present yourself, your handshake, your eye contact, and your confidence levels.
Someone I know once told me, “Look good, feel good, play good” [SIC]. Couldn’t be further from the truth.
If in doubt, keep this in mind: