What to Wear to the Interview
Make sure to inquire about the appropriate mode of dress. Some situations and organizations go “business casual,” when neatly pressed slacks and an ironed shirt and a tie (with sport coat optional) would be appropriate for men, and slacks or skirt, ironed shirt, or sweater would be appropriate for women. Others are “business formal,” when suits, ironed shirts, polished shoes and ties are a must for men, and suits are required for women.
What was once known as casual Friday, has become “confusing Monday-through-Friday” for contemporary candidates. Old-fashioned rules regarding power suits, colors, and ties may not seem to apply today. But because what you wear may impact what you say, and how others perceive your professionalism, in truth, they still do. Your interview image, revealed by your attire, is a projection of common sense rather than fashion sense. As with the font you choose for your resume, it's always recommended that you remain conservative and traditional with the clothing you select for interview days.
Bring extra resumes with you in case you unexpectedly meet additional interviewers. You might also wish to bring supporting materials to serve as illustrations of your work. Some fields, specifically publishing, public relations, and journalism, require writing samples or portfolios. Be ready to detail what samples you have included and why they demonstrate specific talents.
Ties can be loosened, jackets removed, and sleeves can be rolled up. It's easy to transform business formal into something more casual, but the opposite is not possible. Unless specifically told otherwise, and the circumstances of the interview confirm that casual is the only appropriate attire, dress more formally. Suits are always appropriate and required for banking, financial services, consulting, and conservative fields. For other settings, blue blazers, gray or khaki slacks or skirts, crisply ironed shirts, and appropriate neckwear may seem like prep school uniforms, but these basics are always good bets for interviews.