When giving our candidates details about their first interview with a recruiter, we’re often asked, “what should I wear?“
The answer to this question could vary, but we tend to stick with the same general advice. We advise our candidates to “Dress as you would for a job interview” (because, essentially, this is a job interview); we always follow up with a few suggestions including dress pants, conservative pencil skirt or sheath dress with jacket, a button-up shirt or camisole with a blazer, etc.
Out of all the words of wisdom surrounding dress and professionalism I’ve heard, the clearest advice is to simply dress for the job you want. Of course, a Registered Nurse who is interviewing for a nursing management position certainly shouldn’t come in wearing scrubs, so the “dress for the job you want” rule of thumb doesn’t always apply! But in most instances, it can apply. And it should. Another helpful tip: If you’re questioning the appropriateness of the ensemble you’ve put together for an interview, try something else on before you walk out the door.
Still, putting together the perfect outfit for an interview (with a recruiter, or the CEO of an engineering or accounting firm, for that matter) can be tricky. Decoding Business professional and business casual ensembles has never been more difficult thanks to the latest fashion trends, particularly for women. Business Professionals (Accounting, Finance, Senior Management positions) should stick to a conservative ensemble in neutral colors. Suits and modest dresses in navy blue, black, charcoal/gray, and tans/cream hues set the right tone as soon as you walk through the door. Ladies should avoid strappy sandals, instead choosing a basic pump (but not in hot pink, as tempting as it may be!) Include a nice button down shirt (pinstripes or solids look fabulous) underneath the jacket.
The Business Casual dress guidelines have been twisted and turned in every direction over the years. Often times employees stick to the more casual side of things; if your workplace is comfortable with this, wonderful. Our little word of advice? When coming in to interview, please lean toward the business side of things. Ironed khakis or other dress pants paired with a tucked-in button down layered under a nice blazer is always a winner for male candidates. For women, cropped dress pants, modest dresses sans loud (bright, bold) prints and patterns, nicely ironed blouses and camisoles layered underneath a well fitted jacket or cardigan, and simple jewelry are always sure-fire winners.
So, why all the guidelines as to what one should wear to an interview There have been instances when we’ve marketed a candidate immediately following the interview and our client was extremely interested, so much that we sent the candidate straight to our client for a one-on-one interview! Just another reason dressing to impress is a great idea when interviewing with a recruiter.
Of course, if you’re ever unsure about what to wear to an interview, simply call or email and ask the interviewee! We’ll give you our best tips, and if you don’t have a nice suit on hand, tell us what you do have – we’ll walk you through it (yes, we’re fashion experts around here, too!)