The interview scene is without a doubt changing, and perhaps even more so in the nation’s tech capital, Silicon Valley. There used to be no hesitation, you had an interview, you were wearing a suit. Now, that is often times not the case. So how do you decide what to wear? The fact that this is even a question hints to a shift in the times.
How to Decide What to Wear
Ask! A common interviewee might ask, “What is the office culture like?” or “What is the dress code?” but not many ask what the dress code is specifically for interviews, and it could be very different than the day-to-day wear. Is it okay to ask what to wear? Yes! It shows you respect the interviewer’s time and are truly interested in the company. You could ask various people, your recruiter, an HR representative, or even your interviewer if you have a phone interview first.
Research. What you wear to an interview is also dependent on the position, company, industry, location, and time of year. For instance, if you show up to an interview in Los Angeles, in July, decked out in wool, you would look a little silly. When you are researching the company, be sure to investigate the dress code of competitors as well as industry standards.
Business Casual? Okay, so you have asked what to wear, and the response, “business casual,” great! Now what does that mean? Business casual is becoming more and more popular as the millennials inhabit the work place, yet it has no firm definition. There are a couple clear guidelines. Business casual means no suits, no athletic wear, and no open toe shoes or sandals. This still gives us a wide range of options, so I have a few suggestions. Men could wear khakis or dark chinos and a button up shirt, or if it is a little bit more professional slacks and a jacket sans the tie. Women have some more options; you could go with a knee-length dress or skirt with a blazer or cardigan, slacks and a blouse, or a dark pair of fitted jeans paired with a blazer.
Your clothes should be clean and crisp, either ironed or dry cleaned, and make sure your shoes are polished if necessary. Always remember it is always better to be slightly over dressed than under dressed.