How to Dress for an Interview?

At a job interview, you should dress comfortably and (at most) a little more formally than the rest of the office. Interview? First job? Gunning for a promotion? 

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At a job interview, you’re trying to show the organization that you’d fit in there. If you show up dressed casually and everyone else is dressed more formally, you won’t fit in. That’s the easy part that everyone gets. But equally true is the converse: If you show up as a man in a three piecesuit or as a woman in a formal pantsuit, and everyone else there is casual, you also won’t be fitting it. If a job applicant to one of our companies comes in a suit and tie, it shows that he didn’t research the culture of our office – and it counts as a strike against him. Why take that risk?

Before an interview, ask the recruiter or people at the office what the unofficial dress code is. Then come in, wearing comfortable clothes, and dressed similarly, (or just a little bit more formally) to what everyone else is wearing. You’ll fit in, and you’ll be comfortable and confident throughout the interview.

Remember, too: It might seem like the interview – and getting the job – is everything – but in the long run, it’s just the beginning. You want to work at an organization where you’ll fit in and feel like part of the culture for a long time – after all, you spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else.

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If you like to dress casually, do you really want to work somewhere where formal wear is expected? If you like to dress up, do you really want to work somewhere where most people dress down?

Decide what dressing for success means for you- and then find an industry and organization where – at the interview and beyond – you can be comfortable, successful, and fit in with the corporate culture.

  • Want to work in a suit? Interview at organizations that’ll support that – where it’s part of the corporate culture.
  • Want to work while dressed casually? Interview at organizations where that’s the norm.
  • Want to work at home in your underwear? Luckily for you, more than ever before, there are telecommuting positions and work-from-home positions available. But in that case, it’s probably best to get a bit more dressed up for your interview.
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Preparation is an important part of the interview process.
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Dave Kerpen is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local, the cofounder and Chairman ofLikeable Media, and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media andLikeable Business. He usually wears a jacket and orange sneakers. To read more from Dave on LinkedIn, please click the FOLLOW button above or below.