Author Topic: S/O Interview Attire: taking their suggestion vs. overdressing: Up. #19  (Read 3350 times)

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stitchygreyanonymouse

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I have an on-site interview next week and when I received the hotel reservations and itinerary, it included a section about attire.

This is a somewhat hip company in the industry and they stressed how casual their office is and "no-tie" policy. It said that they want their interviewees to feel comfortable, so to please feel free to wear jeans, khakis, etc.

The thing is, I feel that is drastically underdressed for an interview (even if it is my daily level of work wear, I dress up beyond that any time I have meet with clients, which is pretty typical for the industry as well).

If it matters, my first interview with the same people Iíll be meeting with next week was by video conferenceÖ I threw on a jacket for that, so I feel like Iíve set a level of formality already (since they couldnít see my jeans through the web cam).

Business-etiquette wise, do you think I should go with what they say, or dress up a bit more? FWIW, I was planning on wearing black slacks and a jacket/blazer thing (but not a matching suit jacketóa full-on matching suit would be very formal for our industry, even in interviews). I donít want to act like I think their dress code is too casual (for daily wear, I don't think it is), but at the same time, I feel like an interview should be more formal.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 08:16:35 AM by stitchygreyanonymouse »

Outdoor Girl

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I think you are fine.  Keep the top understated, though.  Maybe a dressier t-shirt or a plain button down?

Despite their advice, I would NEVER wear jeans to an interview.  I wouldn't go full out suit but I'd wear dress pants and a blouse.  I probably wouldn't wear a jacket but that's mostly because I'd overheat and I wouldn't want to sweat more than I had to through an interview.
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Surianne

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If they're telling you what their company culture is and what would be appropriate at an interview, I'd take the advice seriously, because it will show them you can fit into the industry well.  Slacks and a jacket/blazer seems like overkill.  If you're not comfortable in jeans, what about khakis and a nice top?

Lynn2000

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I would go with the dressiest style their suggested range allows, even if it's not as dressy as you think you should be. (I'm not good with clothes, so sorry I can't be more specific.) Sometimes people say you can't "over dress" for an interview, but that's not really true; if you came in wearing a very formal suit, you would probably stand out in a bad way. I don't think it would be as bad as showing up in your pajamas (under dressed) and I don't think it would be a HUGE bad thing, but every little bit counts, you know?

Maybe a nice top and slacks, and bring a jacket that you COULD wear, but wait until you get there and look at how others are dressed--more flexibility.
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MrTango

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I would go with the dressiest style their suggested range allows, even if it's not as dressy as you think you should be. (I'm not good with clothes, so sorry I can't be more specific.) Sometimes people say you can't "over dress" for an interview, but that's not really true; if you came in wearing a very formal suit, you would probably stand out in a bad way. I don't think it would be as bad as showing up in your pajamas (under dressed) and I don't think it would be a HUGE bad thing, but every little bit counts, you know?

Maybe a nice top and slacks, and bring a jacket that you COULD wear, but wait until you get there and look at how others are dressed--more flexibility.

I'd bring a jacket that you could wear if the interview room is chilly, but that you could just as easily take off and set on the back of your chair.

stitchygreyanonymouse

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If they're telling you what their company culture is and what would be appropriate at an interview, I'd take the advice seriously, because it will show them you can fit into the industry well.  Slacks and a jacket/blazer seems like overkill.  If you're not comfortable in jeans, what about khakis and a nice top?

I donít own any khakisówhen I need to wear something other than jeans, itís black or grey slacks. I'm in the industry already, have been for many years, and fit fine, so while I understand what you mean, I donít think jeans would show them I fit in while slacks would say I donít. (My current company is just as casual day-to-day, but because itís small I have more external client interaction so I dress up for that.)

I kind of like Outdoor Girlís idea of a dressier t-shirt with the jacketÖ my jacketís not so formal it would look weird to do that, but I do want a jacket because I get cold pretty easily anywayóI wear sweaters in my current office year-round.

lady_disdain

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If I was the interviewer, I wouldn't be impressed by someone who ignored the dress code, specially when we had made a point of including the information. It would send the message that the candidate didn't care about fitting in with company culture, perhaps set in their way and inflexible.  This isn't about how you feel an interview should be, it is about what you have been told the interview IS.

What were the interviewers wearing on your phone interview?

Judah

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If they're telling you what their company culture is and what would be appropriate at an interview, I'd take the advice seriously, because it will show them you can fit into the industry well.  Slacks and a jacket/blazer seems like overkill.  If you're not comfortable in jeans, what about khakis and a nice top?

I agree. They are telling you what is appropriate for their company; it's not wise to ignore their advice.
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CakeBeret

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If I were you, I would be as trendy/dressy as you can while still fitting in their parameters.

I'm envisioning good quality, well-fitted, dark wash jeans; a dressy but fashionable blouse; a blazer that coordinates; and chunky jewelry. Have at least one source of bright color, either the blouse or the jewelry. You want your look to be put together, hip, but still with a nod to professionalism. Pinterest actually has a lot of outfit ideas that incorporate jeans and a blazer that manage to look fashionable and somewhat dressy.

I would not wear slacks with a blazer. As PPs stated, that pretty well contradicts what they specifically asked you to wear.
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Outdoor Girl

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I'd wear the grey slacks over the black - I think that is slightly less formal.  And instead of the jacket, wear a cute cardigan, again to dress it down a little.  You shouldn't have to go shopping for something to wear that you might not wear again.

I couldn't bring myself to wear jeans to an interview - my jeans generally fit much tighter than any dress pants I might have and I just wouldn't be comfortable mentally OR physically wearing jeans.
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Elisabunny

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I agree with the gray slacks over black.  And do you have a denim jacket?  That would give you the extra layer you want, but also the casual vibe they are encouraging.

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turnip

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I'll warn you that a friend of mine is very strict about the dress-code of people he interviews - any suits or ties means you don't get the job.

I think it's ridiculous personally ( and I've told him so ) but I think you need to be aware of the mindset that is out there. 

cheyne

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I have to agree with PP's that the dress code must be important to the company or they wouldn't have included it in the info packet.  I wouldn't wear black slacks and jacket combo, but like CakeBeret's idea of a trendy outfit.

As an aside, in my industry anyone wearing a suit, tie or any type of formal apparel for an interview would be unheard of.  Jeans and a button down shirt or polo with work boots is de rigeuer for an interview. ;D

stitchygreyanonymouse

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OK, it sounds like a good search through my wardrobe is in order (and likely a trip to the store, as Iím in dire need of new tops that arenít sweaters).

Iím not a trendy personóchunky jewelry is not going to happen on me, but the rest of CakeBeretís recommendation may workÖ Iím also a neutrals kind of gal and my main one is black, which is why I was leaning toward the black slacks anyhow.

I guess my gut is just screaming because some of the feedback that I received from my last interview (not quite in my industry, 2 years ago now) was that I didnít look professional enough.

Itís all so confusing! I know we SWE people are casual, but I guess itís been pounded into my brain that interviews should be more formally dressed, always.

lady_disdain, they were also seated, both male, but one was wearing a plaid button-up, and the other had a button-up/sweater combo on. I suppose they could have been wearing jeans with them. Theyíre also management, though.

doodlemor

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I think that you should follow the directions of the company.

If I were you I'd look for something that is *elegant* casual at a thrift shop, or on ebay or upscale department store sale if you have that much time.

Think how a classy film star would dress for shopping on Rodeo Drive - without showing any naughty bits.