There is the old adage that you can never be overdressed. That’s not always the case. If you show up to a startup office in a suit when everyone there wears jeans and a t-shirt, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. And that can throw off your confidence and make you even more nervous at your next interview.
It can be tricky navigating what to wear with ever-changing work dress codes and industry norms. There’s business casual, dressy business casual, smart business casual, and on and on. The key thing with any outfit is to convey that you take the interview seriously.
Here are a few good rules of thumb to help you pick the perfect look:
- Dress a level above the standard dress for the office. Try looking on the company website and social media channels to see what employees are wearing. If the norm is jeans and tennis shoes, go for tailored dark jeans with low heels for the ladies and dress shoes for the guys. Pair that with a dressy casual shirt. When you aren’t sure what goes at the office, a good option is slacks or a skirt (no jeans) and a nice shirt with no jacket or tie. You’ll look put together but not too formal.
- Pay attention to your hair, nails, and makeup. The little details can say just as much about you as your outfit. Opt for neutral on the nails and makeup for the interview.
- Keep accessories to a minimum. You don’t want anything to detract from what you share in the interview. Keep things simple over flashy, so the interviewers stay focused on your skillset.
- Test your virtual interview setup. If your interview is virtual, try out your location and outfit ahead of time to make sure the lighting, angle and background make you look professional.
When in doubt, don’t stress. Reach out to your HR contact or hiring manager to ask about the office dress code. And remember, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident!