Q: I have an interview with a company next week. It is in a different industry than the one I am currently working in. I am unsure of how to dress. Does a man wear a suit, a tie or jeans to an interview today? Dress codes are all over the place now. How do I make sure I am appropriately dressed?
A: You have made an accurate observation. Over the past several years, many workplaces have become more casual with respect to dress. Suits and ties are no longer the norm in many offices. However, there are still industries in which the suit is still the norm. Many who work in law firms or financial services are still wearing suits, except for maybe on casual Fridays. However, I think a suit in a start-up technology firm would be unusual.
Remember you are not an employee (yet). It is better to be over dressed than under dressed. I would avoid wearing jeans for most professional work environments. I would recommend wearing dress pants, a button-down shirt and a blazer for most interviews within a professional workplace.
Try to do a little bit of research before your interview. Go online and see if you can find any information about dress. Some companies will have photos of employees or even have their dress code described on their company website. Even if the photos may be "stock" photos, you can get a sense of the company's expectations about dress by the photos selected.
If you are working with a recruiter, ask the recruiter in advance. Take it one step further, use Linkedin. Often Linkedin profiles will have pictures of the person within their profile. Are they wearing suits or are they dressed a bit more casually in their Linkedin photographs? If you discover you have a contact on Linkedin who is working at this company, try to connect with that contact via telephone. This employee (or former employee) may be able to share valuable intelligence with you that you would not find elsewhere, including information about dress, culture and the company's financial health.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
about this blog
e-mail your question
Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.