For the majority of interviews a suit is the way to go, but there are situations when you will be inappropriately overdressed. Yes, this is possible. If you are interviewing for a company where the casual atmosphere is embodied by everyone right down to the CEO; your buttoned up suit will give off the wrong first impression. So how do you fit into the corporate culture while still looking like a professional job seeker? We have a few suggestions and tips to get you started.
Before planning your interview outfit- do your research. Just like you look up the product or service the company sells, research the corporate atmosphere. Don’t assume a dot com is automatically super casual. Instead turn to the parent company and see what tone they are trying to set. Which leads to the next question, “Where do you find this information?”
Start at the source. Do you have any friends that have worked there? Utilize your LinkedIn network to reach out to friends of friends. You can also call the receptionist and just ask. There is no reason to be embarrassed. When you do this, we recommend telling them which division you are interviewing for. Within a large company the accounting department may dress much differently then the marketing team. Some companies even have pictures online of their offices. Usually these include employees and you may be able to catch a glimpse of their work attire.
So now that you know what everyone else is wearing, what are you going to show up in? Let’s look at a few different scenarios.
The office is definitely business casual, but not in a conservative way. Denim is worn on Fridays and some employees dress casual during the week as well. Here we would recommend pairing your business casual look with a coordinating blazer. This will add a professional polish to your ensemble. We love this cropped style over a printed blouse. Since the print we selected is subtle, we added a gold broach necklace from Stella & Dot.
Denim is the norm and you’ve heard people wear flip flops in the summer months. As always, take it up a notch. Go for trouser styled denim and pull your look together with a cardigan. Polish the look with sleek accessories like this red bag and cord embellished ankle boot.
If you are interviewing in commercial art markets, the atmosphere may seem pretty casual. Keep in mind that these are typically trendsetters. There casual look has purpose and will be more trendy. Now is the time to show off your personal style. Luckily we are in a time when dressing up is chic. So layer a rolled sleeve blazer or fashion vest over your printed blouse to pull the look together. Here is a great article from 39th and Broadway explaining the differences between interviewing in a corporate environment versus a fashion company.
We mentioned business casual at the beginning of these suggestions. If the business casual environment is conservative, your suit will be appropriate. To tone it down, don’t be afraid to play with color.
Hopefully this helps you prepare for your next interview. When researching look at all aspects of the company. This will help you determine not only the right clothing to wear but the overall atmosphere you will be walking into. Good Luck and stay tuned to Workchic for more tips. This month we are covering more then just your appearance. We have career experts talking about everything from writing the perfect resume to advancing in your career.