Styles of dress can vary dramatically from one person to the next. Without realizing it we are sending a message to a prospective employer by our dress the second we walk into the office. Rule of thumb for an interview? Business Professional. The experts say there is NO exception to this rule if you want to work in the business world. But is your perception of “Business Professional” the same as those experts?
Below is a summary of some different styles of dress and whether or not they are appropriate for an interview. Please keep in mind the descriptions below are for interviews for office positions.
BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL – A business suit. NO exceptions. Either pants or skirt is acceptable as long as the jacket matches the other piece. For an interview, ‘separates’ are not considered business professional, no matter how good the outfit looks. Simple shoes, simple jewlery, simple makeup, simple hair are all the perfect compliment to the crisp, clean lines of a business suit. This type of dress should be mandatory for interviews. A dress, as opposed to a business suit, is NOT considered Business Professional and should never be worn to an office interview.
BUSINESS READY – One step below the Business Professional level. This would include the same hair, makeup, shoes (no open toes or sandals) and jewlery as the previous level, but it would allow for separates. This type of dress would be appropriate if the potential employer says ‘we are business causual’ or ‘we don’t dress up’. That is the only time dressing in anything less than a suit would be acceptable for an interview. This level, or Business Casual, is one in which wearing a dress with a jacket would be considered appropriate.
BUSINESS CASUAL – Dress shirt or sweater and slacks. No khakis or jeans in a business casual environment. This type of dress is NEVER acceptable for an interview.
CASUAL – Anything less than Business Casual is considered ‘Casual’. This category would include whatever you would wear to the grocery store, running errands or on the weekends. This type of dress is NEVER acceptable for an interview.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR – Ripped jeans, anything that shows skin or undergarments, flip flops or other outdoor footwear, visible tattoos or piercings, sweat suits of any kinds, clothing with any sort of writing on it, incorrectly sized clothing, evening wear (bar or dressy) or clothing that your son/daughter would wear.
Your dress is a reflection of your work, at least in the minds of a prospective employer. How do you want to be perceived?