Minnie Iu

This week Minnie Iu our Office Manager and Marketing Specialist gives her tips on what to and what not to wear when dressing for an interview.

How do we dress appropriately for an interview?

It is often challenging to determine the most suitable attire for attending interviews to leave the prospective employer with the best impression. It may seem that there is nothing that could possibly go wrong when following old school advise on being formally dressed, however as times change and the popularity of creative jobs widens, this is not always the case.

A suit is suitable

An ironed suit with matching suit coats and trousers is appropriate for most business type interviews or interviews of a professional standard. When wearing a full suit, it is important to wear a suit that is an exact fit and tuck in your shirt to avoid appearing too “scruffy” or unpresentable. For men this may mean wearing a simple patterned tie and not wearing too many piercings. Women also may have to keep in mind the height of their heels if they decide to wear some -any heels should be of a reasonably low height, in fair condition and not open-backed or open-toed. Makeup should be kept on a clean look as any loud colours on the face may give the wrong impression to the interviewer.

Business Casual

It is hard to have a standardized dress code and guideline for what to wear to work. There is quite a loose definition of what is considered business casual in different cities and different countries. Generally, business casual refers to the attire that consists of mainly plain colours and is conservative enough to not be too low-cut, short cut or reveals skin, yet at the same time is not a full-on suit. It can consist of appropriately-length trousers, skirts or even a dress that is not too form fitting or fancy. Solid colours are generally preferred over patterns and once again shoes that are open-toed may be deemed inappropriate. Many interviewers may agree that when business casual is the preferred type of attire in an office, polo shirts are not the best option for a business casual attire because it has a reputation as the shirt for days off, however this is not a strict standard for all countries.

Dressing Down

It is not always the most suitable to be dressing in a suit at all times, depending on the position you will be interviewing for. In some cases, such as interviewing for a tech position, it is better to dress in a casual manner. It is generally accepted that people working for the tech departments usually dress in a more comfortable fashion to work. Therefore, if someone interviews for such a position in a full suit, they may appear to be out of place or not niche in their field. Other interviews that it may be best to dress comfortably and less formal are with start-up companies. In this case either jeans with a blazer or button downs and khakis will do. You can choose a loose shirt for a dressier option.

What if there is no dress code?

Companies may not always provide a dress code for the candidate when inviting them to come in for an interview. One option could be to politely ask for their ideal dress code for the interview when you are invited to the interview. Nevertheless, it is hard to expect the interviewer to reply back immediately regarding the dress code before the actual interview. Therefore, a lot of these dress codes should be considered on your own. Things to consider include the type of position you will be interviewed for, as well as the type of company that will be interviewing you. Just as previously mentioned, it is very important to dress appropriately for your specific job title, so that you can appear to be the most suitable person for your role in terms of image. No matter which dress code is the most suitable one, think about keeping the attire classy. The interviewer may even tell you that they “don’t have a dress code and it is okay to wear anything you want”. This is not a call to dress in the same short skirts you would on a night out, but it means it would be safer to go for a casual but still polished look. First impressions are usually one that lasts for quite a while, so the candidate should be able to benefit from dressing smartly.

Not advised for any interview

There is no ban on any of the following, but it is still not advised in general to do any of these because it may take away the focus from the candidate:

• too much perfume 

• too much makeup of dark colours or bright colours

• Earphones visible during the interview

• Bright colours or flashy patterns 

• Too “dressed-down” or too formal for your specific job

• Chunky or old sneakers 

• A humorous tie 

• Excessively accessorizing

At become Recruitment we support our candidates through every step of the recruitment process. We’ll guide you on what’s appropriate to wear depending on the company and role you are interviewing for, to give you the best shot at landing your dream role. Looking for a new job? Check out our latest jobs.