by Sandra Long, My Intern Coach LLC
When you know you look great, your confidence soars. So it makes sense to take the time to dress carefully for your important interviews. Your appearance is a big component of your interviewer’s first impression of you so it’s worth the effort to make sure you are looking wonderful. In general this means you should select conservative attire, no matter where you are applying.
Since there are a variety of companies, industries and jobs with different standards and practices, it’s best to find out about dress code in advance wherever you are interviewing. Ask your interviewer what the standard office dress attire is. It’s really as simple as that. Regardless of what you are told, plan to dress slightly more formal and conservative than the expectation. This shows you are a serious candidate.
Be careful if you are told “business casual” because that means entirely different things to every office. Find out exactly what they are referring to and then dress more formally. So if you are interviewing at a very casual office of data programmers who wear shorts and jeans every day, I am not suggesting you wear a suit. Instead, choose pressed khaki’s and a collared shirt.
If you don’t know the attire, or you are told it is “business” attire you will need to wear a pressed black, navy or gray suit. Keep your tie or scarf ultra conservative if you are interviewing at Goldman Sachs or GE. You may be able show a little more flair with color, jewelry, unique ties or scarves if you are applying at a marketing start-up or ad agency.
Women should not overdo jewelry, makeup or perfume to any interview. Be careful not to show too much skin or be revealing in any way during an interview. Men need to be freshly shaven and be careful not to overdo the cologne. Shined dress shoes are always important for everyone. Try to avoid showing off any piercings or tattoos.
Consider your entire appearance including raincoats, winter coats, umbrellas, and things you may be carrying such as purses, folios or cell phones. Phones need to be turned off. Your folio should include copies of your resume and the job description and possibly directions or contact information about your interview.
You will feel great when your attire is just right.