Night and Day Resume Blog

An Interesting Take on Attire for Interviewing

I had a conversation with a client who had an interesting perspective on something I have never thought of. He said if someone comes in to interview in a suit for a role in his group, it might be difficult to envision them as a team member. Just as a prospective home buyer tries to see themselves in a home when they go to buy one, he asks himself “can I see this person working on my team?”.

The manager brings up a good point. His team is bright and talented, but laid back. Not so laid back that he would want candidates to come in wearing jeans and T-shirts…that, he says “is disrespectful”.

I agree that jeans and a T-shirt is disrespectful, but never thought that wearing a suit could be detrimental. He makes a good point, but I feel that if you are overdressed but deliver the goods, they can’t deny you a job because you wore a suit.

Years ago I had a client that commented on the quality of a suit one candidate wore…that’s way too nice a suit for someone at his level, as if saying…who does he think he is trying to dress like an executive, he is just a lowly worker. They passed on him because of this, he moved on and laughed. They regretted their stupid decision days later and I had already placed him and his Armani suit elsewhere…where he has hung said suit jacket happily for more than 4 years….but I digress!

The point is…whatever you are wearing, you have to just be yourself and feel comfortable in the environment during your interview. Sure you will have a bit of normal stress and anxiety as many interviewees do, but you should still feel good about the people you are talking to.

If you feel you are overdressed when you go in to an interview, take off your jacket and put it over your chair. You have already shown your respect for the process so go ahead and get down to work on the interview. Also, if you are taken around the office now you can keep the jacket over your chair, or on your arm and you will look like you fit in more with the team.


Wayne Schofield

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  1. @LaShawn – Yes, I completely agree!

  2. @Mary – That’s so funny you address this. I had actually typed out men or women’s suits, and didn’t want to make it an issue. My understanding of women’s suits is that a blouse underneath would be equal to a man wearing a nice shirt. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but you too, could doff the jacket as a man could.

    @Anonymous – That’s a great point, however, if you are working you wouldn’t want to give up a role to try out another. sounds like you might be straight out of school or out of work. In this case, maybe consider volunteering for a company you would love to work for and show them what you got!

  3. LaShawn Lindsey says:

    I’ve dealt with this quite often. I had hiring managers’ tell me, “this person looks too serious to work here.” And, I’ve always reminded them that it’s a job interview and it’s always best to put your best foot forward.

    The time to look like the team is when you’re part of the team. We can dumb-down many things but not a job interview.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Attire in an interview should not be a determining factor, nor should saying the right things. An ideal interview provides the opportunity to see a candidate’s work ethic, ability to initiate, relational ability, and potential. It is very hard to have a good interview, thus I am an advocate of short term “internships” – giving candidates a week or so to feel out a company, and the company the same period to test the candidate.

  5. SEtech says:

    Good Point Mary! I will suggest Wayne address that in an upcoming blog entry.

  6. Mary Livingston says:

    Interesting article,but unfortunately appears to have only a male focus–many women’s suits are not geared to removing the jacket. Unless one is proud of their underwear and/or figure.

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