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 Post subject: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:53 pm 
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It's not a good time to be looking for a job. The jobs around here are few and far between, and so the competition for the few that are available is pretty stiff. I've had a couple call backs, a couple second interviews, but still no job yet.

Anyway, a certain overbearing relative (my mother) is telling me that I am dressing too formally for my job interviews. She says that the only place you aren't going to look pompous and stuffy in a tie is at a funeral or wedding.

I'm just not buying it! Please tell me that it's good to dress up for a job interview!!?! I'm an animal loving, dirty hippy at heart, but when you go to an interview for an office job, ya gotta dress like it matters, right?

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Last edited by HappyAsh on Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:54 pm 
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I think for standard office-type jobs suits are good. There might be some super casual environments where it's seen as overdressed, but it's better to be overdressed than underdressed at an interview.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:59 pm 
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I suppose it depends on your sector and office culture, but where I work (a large non-profit), slacks/tie/jacket or a suit wouldn't be too formal.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:05 pm 
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Depends on the job perhaps, but any white collar type job requires a white collar get up for the interview! Suit and tie for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:07 pm 
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I think it totally depends.
In this town, a suit and tie is way too "stuffy" for most jobs. My hubby interviews for a large non-profit in a button down and slacks. Tie if the job is upper tier.
Even the banks would think a suit and tie are too much.
Maybe leave the suit jacket out?

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:10 pm 
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I have always learned that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. That said, I do think that suits can be overkill for certain kinds of jobs... when I used to interview for jobs in workshops where I would be working with my hands, I wanted to wear something more appropriate for that type of job, so I would wear more like nice slacks or black or dark colored jeans with no holes or paint on them (even though when I work in those jobs, I pretty much only wear painty jeans, because I'm a painter), and a nice button down shirt, but if I think suits are perfectly appropriate for office job interviews.

My general guideline is to dress as nicely as you would on your dressiest days in that position if you were to get a job. So if you would ever be giving a presentation to a client or something, dress as you would for that activity, even if it's dressier than you would wear for every-day clothes at that job.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:13 pm 
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Having worked in offices and been on hiring committees, a suit is appropriate. Any less would get questioned where I was. Overdressed is much better than underdressed.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:22 pm 
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I work in a typically white-collar job (law office), but in an extremely liberal office in California, and unless one of my coworkers is appearing in court they never get out of jeans and flip-flops. We get plenty of job applicants coming in dressed in nice suits which is charming but totally unnecessary. Even so, I don't think 'overdressing' as it were is a point against them. If anything it shows that, although they totally don't need to dress like that in the office, they are earnest about the job and eager to set a good first impression through appropriate and somewhat formal attire. I say wear your suits like a boss! If it's not a suit-and-tie kind of job, you'll find that out soon enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:27 pm 
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A suit for a conservative office job.

Collared shirt with a tie for more casual office jobs.

Button-up and slacks for physical work or minimum wage-type stuff, and I wouldn't go any more casual than that for anything unless the interviewer specifics on the phone not to dress nicely.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:16 pm 
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Here in Seattle, a suit and tie are going to be unnecessary for all but upper tier corporate jobs in conservative industries like banking. I think it depends a lot on your environment. But I agree with Erika; there's not much downside to potentially being overdressed. I think acting "pompous and stuffy" would keep you from getting a job, but dressing nicely would not.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:21 pm 
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I think shes dead wrong. Its a game everyone plays but the guy showing up dressed really well is showing to the interviewer that they give a shiitake and want the job.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 4:24 pm 
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I would say that if you are on the east coast, a suit is definitely appropriate. Sometimes slacks and a dress shirt are ok, but a suit is best option.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:06 pm 
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What about for women? I'm applying for a position that probably a man would wear a suit for to interview, but I kinda feel like a suit for a woman would be overkill. I chose dress pants, nice blouse, and cardigan. I really don't want to fork over the cash for a nice suit jacket that I will never wear on the actual job. And it's going to be so hot a suit is just ridiculous this time of year.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:09 pm 
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I think it is the same butternut, you can wear a suit but you don't necessarily have to, slacks and a nice blouse are good.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:19 pm 
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Thanks guys! I'm definitely wearing a shirt and tie.. The rest of my nice acrylic suit is a too big on me. After tomorrow I'll start looking in the thrift shops for a 'Joe Friday' style suit that fits me. Better yet, an L.A. Confidential - Officer Bud White suit.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:22 pm 
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HappyAsh, what have the people interviewing you been wearing? I agree that overdressing shows you're motivated and shouldn't be a negative, but if you're dressing more formally than everyone, and not getting called back when you believe the interviews went great, maybe tone it down a bit to sports jacket and nice slacks? I've done a lot of hiring for non-profits, and I'm more interested in what the applicants have to say than how they're dressed - as long as they look clean and neat. So make sure you research each company/non-profit in advance, and let them know your ideas for how you would work into the job? And asking lots of questions is good too: show you're a team player.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:32 pm 
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Butternut I always wear a suit. I've definitely seen women interview for the same type of positions as me wearing a nice sweater and slacks but I guess I was just taught the old school way, I think a suit is much better. I've also hired a few people and it certainly isn't a deal breaker, but I am generally more impressed when someone puts in the effort to wear a suit. It just shows a certain level of professionalism.

Btw I found a really great suit for $100 at Macy's. They had a huge selection. It is a nice grey suit w/ very faint pink pinstripes & black piping that fits me perfect. I wear it with a rose colored sleeveless shirt underneath so it works in any season really. (just take the jacket off until I get there if it is hot) I've worn the heck out of that thing at this point (job interviews, defending thesis, presentations...) so it was totally worth $100.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:18 am 
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electric_claire wrote:
My general guideline is to dress as nicely as you would on your dressiest days in that position if you were to get a job. So if you would ever be giving a presentation to a client or something, dress as you would for that activity, even if it's dressier than you would wear for every-day clothes at that job.

That's a really good standard.

Job hunting these days is tough. I don't feel like the older generations understand just how bad the ratio of applicant to position is. I've never heard advice from parents that reflect what I've gone through getting a job. I expect to apply to more than 100 jobs in order to find one that takes me (that's been my experience my last 3 jobs anyway).

Your mom is probably just looking for an explanation as to why you've not found something, but really there's no way to know. Sometimes there's someone who only hires from the school they graduated from. Sometimes they want to hire someone they already know or who works there, but they have to post the job for legal reasons.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Yeh-- it's important to know what's expected for the sort of job you're doing.

In the past I've interviewed people for tech support and system administration positions. Tech support is entry-level, so I cut them some slack, but I expect some professionalism. For tech jobs at universities, jeans and shirts with collars are pretty much how everyone dresses (occasional t-shirts depending on the weather), and I'd be suspicious of anyone showing up for an interview in a suit and tie.

In fact, during one interview at an ISP, a guy showed up to an interview for a tech support and programming position in a suit and tie and spent the whole time talking about how great he thought marketing is and how he wanted to move into marketing and how he's done all this marketing stuff in his spare time and marketing marketing blah blah blah. So we didn't hire him. He was a snappy dresser, but he didn't want the job we had.

I also took part in an interview for a managerial position, somebody who would be in charge of computer lab maintenance and student workers. We had two candidates. The guy showed up in a hipster fedora and suit jacket and was a snappy dresser and fast talker, but not very organized. The woman showed up in jeans and some kind of tight-sleeved shirt thing with a clean solid-colored t-shirt over it (I later discovered that she was hiding her awesome arm tattoos). She totally knew her stuff, and we hired her. (And she's still there, 6 years or so later. She was pretty great to work with.)

In fact, for tech jobs in general, I'd be happy to interview somebody wearing jeans and a button-down shirt. I'd be a little nervous about somebody showing up in a t-shirt. I'd be suspicious that somebody showing up in a suit either didn't realize that they might be poking around under desks and pulling cable through crawlspaces or was angling for a management position. I don't want to work with a techie who wants to be a manager. I want to work with a techie who wants to be a techie.

The long-winded gist is: Know the company; know the type of job; have some idea of the corporate culture and dress appropriately. (I'd wear a suit and tie to interview with IBM, because that's how IBM rolls. But university; start-up; agile company? Jeans and a button-down shirt.)

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:56 pm 
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i also don't think suit and tie or at least tie is too much. as adam says, it shows you give enough of a crepe to pursue it.

as for women, butternut, I've always had a nice jacket that i wear with something- usually khakis and a button-down shirt. I used to keep a short-sleeved jacket too, which was super handy- i went to a used store and bought a nice jacket and just cut off the sleeves just above the elbow, hemmed them up nice, and it was a good summer solution.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:59 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
I'd be suspicious that somebody showing up in a suit either didn't realize that they might be poking around under desks and pulling cable through crawlspaces or was angling for a management position. I don't want to work with a techie who wants to be a manager. I want to work with a techie who wants to be a techie.

The long-winded gist is: Know the company; know the type of job; have some idea of the corporate culture and dress appropriately. (I'd wear a suit and tie to interview with IBM, because that's how IBM rolls. But university; start-up; agile company? Jeans and a button-down shirt.)


Universities are different but as a former pulling cable type person, I think corporations are different in general. Khakis are what I'd expect to see for a more casual type wear but even as someone who has helped hire techies, been a techie, still a techie (maybe...) I'd be surprised to see someone wear jeans to an interview and I say this as someone who used to wear jeans every day to work. But it definitely depends.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:44 pm 
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im not a dude but im picturing what i think my husband should wear. maybe a full on suit might be a bit much but a collared shirt and tie i think is absolutely appropriate!!!

ive also seen my husband wear khakis and a nice collared shirt and look what i would call appropriate for an interview.

i think overdressing would be WAY better than underdressing. ive definitely worked in places where if someone showed up looking sloppy or not dressed appropriately they were like "NEXT"

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:45 pm 
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I can't imagine ANY office job finding fault with you for wearing a suit. But make sure it fits well! If not, then shirt and tie is a better option.

For women, well, I do a fair amount of interviews myself. I would always wear a jacket/blazer to an interview. Not necessarily a suit (i.e. matching set) but a blazer over you outfit sure!

Good luck job hunting :) Come work for me. I need an assistant. i will feed you hummus and soy milk lattes.


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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:23 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
The long-winded gist is: Know the company; know the type of job; have some idea of the corporate culture and dress appropriately. (I'd wear a suit and tie to interview with IBM, because that's how IBM rolls. But university; start-up; agile company? Jeans and a button-down shirt.)


It was already mentioned in this thread, and I'll say it again: i think there are huge east-west coast differences. I went to one of the most radical, progressive universities in NYC and still my suit went a long way for me. I know this because I started out wearing "rave-y" clothes and they were not having it, so I had to conform. (hate to say it, but true) I also lived in Seattle for a year and was totally amazed at how much more "alternative" dress was accepted there - way more piercings, tattoos, weird hair etc.

So I agree - it pays to know the company culture. Also, I was thinking after I posted to Butternut above - wearing what makes you feel confident is really important. I lucked out and found the perfect suit - everyone always compliments me when I wear it. But if I had a really great jacket/slacks combo that made me feel more confident than an ugly suit - it is probably better to wear the thing that makes you feel your best.

As a side note: today I did a presentation for a group that i've presented in front of several times already, wearing either blazers or my power suit. I sort of ran out of things to wear so last night I bought a flouncy, polka dot summery blouse that I loved, and wore it with some nice slacks. I figured hey, they've seen me dressed up several times now so it must be OK...but I swear, it affected things! It really seemed like they took me more seriously in a suit. So dumb really...but one of the things I've learned in the professional world is you have to pick you battles and play the game if it is something important to you.

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Last edited by Aubade on Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Appropriate Job Interview Attire
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:26 pm 
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Thanks you guys. I just ordered a linen jacket that should work for summer interviews. Now if I could just get an interview.


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