2020 was the year of the sweat pant. With offices shut down and employees working from home, attire became more informal. As many are reopening and hiring, workers will likely be making a shift back to professional attire.
Today’s job seekers must step into an interview without a clear knowledge of the workplace culture—including dress code—and how that may have shifted during the pandemic. If you’re in the job market, we have three rules of thumb for dressing for success.
Remember that professional attire signals respect. Interviewers will take you seriously if it’s clear that you are taking the opportunity seriously. This includes your choice of wardrobe and extends to personal grooming. You want to look polished and prepared, so that they can picture you in the open position.
Always err on the side of formality. Underdressing is far more costly than overdressing. Even if you know that employees dress casually on a day-to-day basis, an interview is a different context. When in doubt, wear a suit. Formality also means that you should consider understated attire. You don’t want a loud outfit to be the primary thing a potential employer remembers about you. This is not to say you have to be boring. Opt for a more conservative outfit and allow your personality to peek through with an accessory, such as tie, pocket square or piece of jewelry.
Investing in a new interviewing outfit can be a strategic choice. A new power suit can inject fresh confidence into your interview. Moving from comfy activewear to sharp, tailored garb can put you in the right mindset for your next interview. It’s also possible that you may feel just as poised in your favorite suit. Before wearing a staple from your wardrobe, give it a critical eye. Does it look worn? Does it still fit well? This interview is your first impression with a potential employer. Make it count.
Your interview attire should set the tone for the interview, not distract from it. These three guidelines will put you in good stead as you prepare for your next interview