Dressing the Part: Interview Attire
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Despite changing fashion trends and informal workspaces that are popularly sought out by today's young professionals, we've spoken with several coaches, stylists and Hiring Managers across North America and in many European countries and the verdict is out: Administrators still prefer prospective employees to come to their interviews in tasteful traditional business attire with a confident attitude and good knowledge about their company and what you can bring to their community.
The basic Aristotelian concept of Ethos, Logos, Pathos applies here: Know what you want and who you are dealing with and appeal to your audience by looking and acting the part.
The goal at an interview or networking event is to make a connection based on a positive first impression. When meeting someone for the first time, it's so important to make a positive first impression that will get you the job or connection you want. While it's nice to let your personality shine through in an interview, however, Hiring Managers expect you to do this by using your words, positive body language, and tidy, organized appearance. While a slightly decorative tie or scarf might be a nice touch, donning gaudy oversized accessories, tops/bottoms with "ambitious" hemlines and blindingly bright colors or patterns are reportedly major turnoffs to most Hiring Managers. It's important to dress for the job and respect you want, not for a pop rock video. (Blog Post Link: Dress for the life you choose.)
The "Golden Mean" of Interview Attire: Some jobs do require slightly different attire than others, so it's always best to research a new prospective workplace to get a sense of the office culture.
In 2020, with the rapid expansion of the startup culture, some business circles have embraced a more casual style. We do take this into consideration and recommend that you research a company very well before your interview to get a sense of whether it's a formal or casual work atmosphere. However even at places like Google, we recommend sticking with business casual attire for an interview. In general, it's best to err on the side of a more conservative look if you're heading to a prospective employer for the first time, especially if you're applying for an executive position.
If your style is not particularly conservative, follow Aristotle's outline for the Golden Mean by finding a good median between the extreme liberal and conservative.
Still stumped? We have fabulous fashion consultants for men and women on our team. Please email us for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details on the colors and styles that are generally appropriate for an executive job interview, click on the articles below.