5 unspoken interview rules about what you should wear

What you say in an interview should be remembered better than what you wear, but this is not always the case.

Gabriel WoodyA university recruiter for finance software company Intuit said that wild fashion designs, too many accessories, extra straps or wrinkled clothing can distract interviewers from what candidates are saying.

To avoid this, it’s helpful to wear something that matches your potential employer’s idea of ​​professionalism.

But what counts as professional can vary greatly, depending on whether you work for a stuffy law firm or a relaxed tech start-up, and if your potential workplace has had its dress code relaxed since the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, in the tech industry, employers are usually flexible and don’t pay attention to what people wear, says Laura Hunting, CEO Found by Inc., a talent agency and executive search firm specializing in design. “As long as the candidate feels comfortable and confident and avoids anything offensive [like a] T-shirt with an offensive picture or phrase, then you are usually clean, and this is more about the content of the conversation, ”she said.

To give job seekers more clarity on what they should wear to an interview, we asked a few job search experts what they think are the most important unspoken rules about what you should wear to an interview. Here’s what you need to know:

Rule #1: If you’re in doubt about the dress code, look at photos on social media or ask recruiters directly.

Looking at what employees look like in photos during work hours can give you an idea of ​​how you should dress for an interview.

“I work for a technology company and we have a business style. I advise candidates to wear business attire and what they feel comfortable in,” Woody said.

“If they are really stuck, then I advise them to check our corporate job page and social media, where our employees are shown. This exercise gives candidates a better idea of ​​what is acceptable to wear. Clothing guidelines definitely vary by industry and company because some of them may be more formal and require a suit.”

Rule #2: Don’t wear pajamas or sweatpants to a video interview, even if you think the interviewer can only see your upper half.

Even if the interview is taking place on a computer screen, try to dress as if the interview is taking place physically in front of you. Match the top half of your wardrobe with the bottom half – you never know what a hiring manager might see.

“If your interview is on video, you should still think about your pants or skirt, even if they won’t be visible on camera,” advised Sarah Johnston, co-founder Traveling in search of work. “I heard a terrible story from a client when he was interrupted during a video interview and had to stand up. They had a nice top but pajama bottoms. It really confused them and they couldn’t come to their senses.”

Ashley WatkinsA job search coach with corporate recruiting experience said she’s seen some job seekers switch to a looser wardrobe as a result of the pandemic, but “that doesn’t give you the right to wear pajamas or skip pants at all because it’s a video interview,” she said. she is.

“Be prepared to fail. If an emergency happens during your interview and you have to run immediately, you don’t want your interview panel to catch a glimpse of your underpants.”

Rule #3: Your clothes can signal how serious you are about the interview.

If you dress too casually, you will get the impression that you are not excited about this opportunity, even if you really do take care of it.

“Anything that’s too revealing or casual — t-shirts, crop tops, and so on — can set the wrong tone and make it seem like the candidate isn’t taking the opportunity too seriously,” he said. Jackie Cuevasnon-profit human resource administrator.

Anielis Cordero, Founder Coaching “Movement to the goal”a career coaching service aimed at first-generation professionals believes that no matter what industry you’re applying for, you should dress to impress as people can make snap judgments in the blink of an eye.

“How you look physically matters and will be consciously or subconsciously considered when evaluating you as a candidate,” she said.

Rule #4: It’s better to be safe than sorry and err on the side of more professional dressing.

Carmen Rosas, a real estate planning attorney, said she noticed that the pandemic has definitely relaxed workplace dress codes, but she still thinks it’s best to choose interview attire that suits your personality while being safe for work at the same time. – no tops that expose the neckline, short dresses. skirts, wrinkled shirts, or trousers that are too tight. “During an interview, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” she said.

“As a business owner who recruits for their team, I always remember that my people are my brand and while I want people to be true to themselves, they also represent my firm and my brand.” Rosas said. “Our wealthy clients don’t want their lawyer team to show up in sweatpants, and they don’t expect it. When you prepare for an interview, keep this in mind. “How can you dress to match the brand of the organization or company you are interviewing?”

Of course, buying new professional clothes can get expensive if you want to impress. Jails To Jobs supports catalog organizations in various states that distribute professional clothing to those who qualify, such as 100 suits for 100 men as well as Dress for Success.

Rule #5: If the dress code really bothers you, it’s a sign that this job might not be right for you.

It’s important to remember that a job interview is a two-way street: the hiring manager has to see if you’re the right fit for his team, but you can also see if he’s the right fit for you. If the ideal shape of your future team seems oppressive and cramped, consider this before accepting an offer.

“If you find that you need to ‘wear that part of the outfit’ that doesn’t suit you, chances are that this corporate culture doesn’t suit you,” Cordero said. “My life partner used to work in banking and had to wear what he calls a ‘monkey suit’: [a] suit and tie. He hated this part of the job. He looks more like a guy in jeans, a T-shirt, a blazer and sneakers. When he moved into the world of tech startups, he felt more comfortable and was able to really show himself in every way.”

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