Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dress the Right Way for Your Interview

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What kind of person are you? What type of person do you want your peers to perceive you as?
There are many questions you should ask yourself when gearing up for an interview. The hour you spend whilst interviewing could very well determine the path you take for the rest of your life.
Dressing correctly has become a rather complex subject when interviewing for jobs (at any position, entry or senior). There used to be a simple rule, dress smart and preferably in a suit. A lot has changed since then as many corporate cultures have become more relaxed. It all depends on the impression you get from the company, when you decide what to wear for your interview.
Lets go through clothing styles with a few different industries, the context for everything mentioned below is for a man in the US:

Public Sector:
Working in the public sector, as a rule of thumb, all job interviews should be conducted wearing a suit. The preference for dress code in the public sector is that of a navy or black suit. The shirt and tie combination is up to your discretion, beware of colour clashes. The cut of the suit, is again up to the interviewees, slim-fit and trim suits are now fashionable and if you want to subtly stand out from the crowd, a new and fashionable cut should be the route for you to go down. This however can be a double-edged sword as the people interviewing you may not have an appreciation for certain styles of suits.

Fashion Industry:
It all depends on the fashion brand you are going to be working for. It doesn't matter which department you'll be in either. IT, Procurement, Marketing, Sales they are all the same. You have to dress according to each particular firms style. Here are two different examples.
Gucci: A high fashion and luxury brand that is mostly available only to upper class individuals. A suit is required for this interview, the colour depends on you, light grey is currently a good choice. The cut has to be hyper-fashionable, wear nothing that was associated with 'last season' dress sense and appearance is half the battle in a job interview like this. If you are going to be working for something so high-fashion and cutting edge, you have to be passionate about what they stand for, the best way to do so is with your appearance.

Hollister: The complete opposite from Gucci. Working at Hollister will have a much more relaxed atmosphere. Take a while to read their website, go to their stores and get a feeling for what the brand stands for. Interviewing here will be a much different experience to interviewing with Gucci. Senior position job interviews may require a suit, but it is more than likely that interviews would be placed in an informal setting. As for clothing, make sure that suits are not required with a follow-up email. If they are not (more than likely) dressing in Hollister-themed clothes will be your best bet. Don't go too casual with shorts and a t-shirt, chinos and a Hollister polo or jumper is a safer option.

Software Industry: The software industry has changed somewhat with the advent of 'Web 2.0' and huge companies like Google and Facebook being the most casual organisations of all, just look at Zuckerberg for instance.

Dressing right for interview in the Software industry is up to you and how you perceive the company.
Google: Dressing for Google is a bit more difficult than you might think as your casual clothes will seem too casual, and your smart clothes too smart. When given the option 'dress in what you feel most comfortable in' everything flies out of the windows and clothing becomes a bigger issue. The best answer to this statement is to throw a smart-casual combination into the mix. For a company such as Google, clean trainers, combined with smart jeans/chinos and a shirt (with no tie) is a safe, comfortable bet.

EMC: Working for a huge company like EMC, whilst in the software industry it is a little more formal than Google. Their events such as EMC World, whilst informal and relaxed, job interviews still need smart dress. Applying for an Architect role in a Documentum Job offering for example will require a suit. Although this is dependent on the country as a job in this particular field could need lots of travel throughout the world. It's always best to check with your recruiter or their HR manager before making assumptions as often international jobs hold such a mixed bag of culture, you're never quite sure how to make yourself come off better.

Sports Industry:
In the sports industry it doesn't matter what company you are applying to, it depends on the role you are applying for and the stage of interview (unlike the fashion industry). It could be the case that you have to give a fitness demonstration or test, wearing a suit to that isn't going to go down very well.

Management: Management and non-sport related jobs in the Sports Industry will more than likely need you wear a suit and smart clothing.

Fitness/Training: These types of jobs will have various stages of interview in which for one you will be required to wear sporting clothes and the more formal interview, dressing smart casual should be fine, although some establishments may prefer you wore a suit too.

Other Tips:
Wearing a suit isn't always the best way to impress in the job market today. However, when you do when you do wear a suit, follow these tips:
- Make sure everything is clean and polished.
- Don't wear a suit that is too big or too small.
- Make sure your suit will fit in with the company culture, a white suit to a public sector job interview in the US will not be an option.
- Always wear a belt and shoes that are the same colour (or very similar). If you have a bag too, try to make it the same colour as your shoes and belt.
- Don't wear a stupid tie. Comedy ties are for Christmas time and St. Paddy's only.


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