The world has gotten more relaxed–at least as far as dress codes are concerned. Casual attire is now acceptable at the office and in most fine-dining restaurants. It’s even rare to see suits and dresses at a church on a Sunday morning. With some exceptions, society’s dress code has become decidedly less conservative.
So, where does that leave you as a candidate dressing for a job interview? Why should you dress up, you might rationalize, when the rest of the world seems to be dressing down? Well, there’s a simple answer: What you’re wearing will be the first thing your hiring manager will notice, and it will make a strong statement about you before you even say a word.
Dress inappropriately for your interview, and you might be indicating that you take a casual attitude toward work and authority. It might also show that don’t understand business etiquette. Dress appropriately, and the hiring manager is more likely to see you as successful because you look the part and are taking this opportunity seriously.
Some wardrobe malfunctions you’ll want to avoid
While it’s not always necessary, or even advisable, for men to wear coats and ties and women to wear dresses to an interview, there are certain mistakes you need to avoid, even if you’re applying to the most casual workplace. Here’s a list that’s by no means exhaustive:
- A skirt that’s too short or tight
- A blouse that shows too much cleavage
- Low slung pants that show too much backside
- A messy handbag
- Scuffed shoes
You get the point: These outfits cry out that they aren’t appropriate. You’ll want to steer clear of them and others like them.
Dress as though you already fit into the company’s culture
So, how would you know what the company culture is? Research! Yes, you probably already know that you shouldn’t arrive for your interview without knowing as much about the company as possible. That knowledge comes from research, and that sam e kind of investigation can inform you about the company’s preference for casual or conservative attire.
A word of caution: Even if you’re interviewing at a company with a most casual dress code– wearing shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops to work—you should at least dress as if you were going to dinner on a Saturday night. Like it or not, you are being judged on your appearance despite what the dress code for working there might be.
Conversely, if everyone is wearing shorts and a T-Shirt and you show up in a three-piece suit, you’ll look like you don’t fit in. One of the secrets of a successful interview is demonstrating that you belong and can be part of a team.
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