We have gone over this topic several times in the past. There is a debate raging amongst hiring managers that if you are going to a job at an organization that prides itself on being casual, you should come dressed in more casual clothing to “look the part.” Indeed, there has been more than once instance of an individual presumably not getting hired because they came to the interview dressed “too professional.” The idea that you need to dress down for interviews with casual companies is being popularized all over the Internet.
We still believe this to be a risky move, and as evidence, we point you to this (#22):
“One [candidate] came in dressed very professionally and really looked like she had made an effort to look the part. Some people assume because we are laid back and bring our pets to work, that we are extremely casual and will show up for an interview dressed in jeans, so this was a nice change. Toward the end of the interview, I complimented her on how professional she looked. … We ended up hiring her ” — Cindy Lukacevic, owner/vice president of marketing, Dinovite Inc.
Dressing professionally at the job interview shows respect to the company. You want the company to see you are as a professional. You have every day for the rest of your life to dress casually like the company wants, but at the interview, you want to show the company you take the interview seriously, which is exactly what this candidate did.
What Happens If We Are Wrong?
In rare situations, you are going to come across an interviewer that doesn’t hire you because you were dressed professionally. The immediate reaction may be “I should have gone with my instincts and dress down.”
Still, the truth of the matter is that a company that refuses to hire employees because they dress too professional are going to miss out on great candidates that showed respect for the company in favor of candidates that decided casual was a better strategy. That’s their fault, not yours.
You don’t know what the interviewer wants. All you know is that if you dress up for a casual interview, you will probably still get the job, but if you dress down for an interviewer that wants someone professional, you are guaranteed not to get the job.
Take Away Interview Tips
- It’s still a good idea to dress up for your job interview, no matter where it is.