You score a date with someone you’ve been after for a while. From mutual friends, you’ve heard nothing but good things about this person. The phone conversations have been smooth and fluid; emails exchanged have been intelligent and funny. Finally, you find yourself waiting excitedly for him or her at a nice restaurant. The moment has arrived! But your brain has trouble processing what the eyes are seeing: your object of interest is wearing baggy gray sweatpants, a t-shirt, and an attitude that says “So what?” Giving this a chance (maybe it’s an anomaly – he had a bad day; she had to rush to the dentist right before dinner), you initiate friendly conversation. All you get in return are one-word answers, no questions, no discernible interest in the meeting. Would you ever see this person again? Would you be surprised if this person remained single until the end of time?
Replace the situation above with a job interview. Unthinkable, right? Wrong! A horrified client recently told me the true story of an applicant whose resume was top-notch and who interviewed very well over the phone, but when he arrived for his appointment, he looked like he’d rolled out of bed, with a slouchy, disinterested posture to match. I was flabbergasted.
You would think an adult already in the workforce several years would not need to be guided on what to wear – and not wear – to a job interview. And 99% of people know how to present themselves. For the 1% who have any doubt whatsoever, it is best to err on the side of a conservative suit, whatever is in style and appropriate for the company. Obviously if you’re going for a job as a gym coach, the dress code might be a little more relaxed. In most environments, however, and especially if you’re just not sure (most companies nowadays have business casual dress codes) it is advisable to dress a little more formally until they tell you about the company culture and dress.
In either of the above scenarios, do all you can to make sure you get called back!