Decades ago, interview attire was pretty standard. Men would wear a suit and tie, while woman would wear either a pantsuit or a business skirt and a blazer. While this is still appropriate in some cases, the professional landscape has vastly changed in recent years. “Business professional” attire seems to be becoming a thing of the past, while the definition of “business casual” gets broader and broader. Nowadays, appropriate interview attire varies based on the company for which you are interviewing. Showing up in a full suit while everyone at the office is wearing jeans will make you stick out and signal that you don’t belong there. To avoid fashion faux pas such as this, follow these tips to figure out what to wear to an interview based on the company.
Research the Company Culture
An accounting firm and an advertising agency perform very different duties. So why would they have the same dress code? It is important to base your interview outfit on the culture of a company. In order to do so, you must get do some digging. Check the company’s website for a “culture” tab. Be sure to look at any pictures posted and take notes on what the employees are wearing. Additionally, pay attention to the language and verbage used to describe the company’s culture. Chances are a company that highlights group happy hours and has cold brew coffee on tap won’t require you to wear a pantsuit to the interview.
You can also look at the company’s social media accounts. Many places of work have Instagram accounts to spread social awareness and enhance the company culture. Look up a company’s Instagram page for an idea of what actual employees wear in the everyday life of the office.
Connect with a Company Employee
If you landed this interview through a professional or personal connection with the company, use it to your advantage! Don’t be afraid to reach out to this connection to ask for advice on what to wear to the interview. Chances are, they will be happy to hear from you and see that you are both excited and serious about getting this job. If you don’t have a personal connection to the company, look up some employees on LinkedIn and send them a message. Mention that you are interviewing for X position and would like some insight into the company culture and atmosphere. You can also use this opportunity to ask them any other questions you make have about the company or the open position. No one will have a better gauge for a company’s wardrobe than an actual employee of said company who is in the office every day.
Ask Human Resources
If you haven’t had any luck finding a clear answer regarding what to wear to your interview, don’t be afraid to reach out to human resources. Your best bet is to contact the person who helped set up your interview, as they are most likely in HR or a hiring manager. The point of the human resources department is right there in the name; to be a resource to current and potential employees. Any HR professional would be happy to answer your question about wardrobe attire to help you feel comfortable and increase your chances of becoming a part of the company’s team. By reaching out, it shows them that you are not afraid to take initiative, will ask questions when you don’t know an answer, and are very interested in landing this position.
In the past, wearing business professional attire to an interview was a no-brainer. Now that the professional landscape has changed, wardrobe options are much less cut and dry. By doing some research on the company and/or reaching out to employees or human resources, you can ensure that your interview outfit shows what a great fit you and the company would be.