Question of the day

Interview attire

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23/06/2010 at 06:47

In view of the rather pleasant weather we've been having recently, would you think it OK for a lady (ie. me) to go to an interview wearing a smart summer dress and jacket rather than the whole suit thing?

I have a several nice suits, but I seem to have bought them all in the depths of winter - they're all rather heavyweight and overly warm at present. I don't feel the heat very often, but even I've stopped wearing a cardigan at the moment.  I don't know that turning up to an interview looking like a beetroot is maybe the best presentation.

23/06/2010 at 07:06
Depends on the jobs you're applying for - but on my experience as an interviewer for mid-level jobs in education I'd suggest smart dress and jacket is fine in this sort of weather...

Just don't dress as if you're going to a nightclub - all nice for dirty old men like me... but it will make you look frivolous.

Best of British!
23/06/2010 at 07:12
Do women still wear suits?

HL, I don't know what line of work you're in, but the vast majority of employers will only notice what you're wearing if you look scruffy. Or, in Corinth's case, slutty. Dress and jacket sounds lovely.

(I have in the past chuckled inside to see some of the "interview suits" people turn up in.)
Edited: 23/06/2010 at 07:12
23/06/2010 at 07:18

Depends on the job, I guess. My husband is in recruitment and says he would always expect someone to wear a suit. If anyone turns up for interview with them without one, they'll strongly advise making the effort when they send them out to a client.

23/06/2010 at 07:52

Normally it's a job where I wouldn't expect to wear a suit on a daily basis. For important things, yes, but not on a daily basis. Blokes would be in trousers, shirt & maybe a tie, but no jacket. So I'd dress in skirt/trousers, blouse and cardigan. In which case a dress and jacket is still smarter than I'd expect to wear on a regular basis.

it's always so difficult to know what to wear. I went to one place in a suit, to discover the interviewer was in a T shirt & scruffy jeans. Talk about a mismatch!

I helped interview before, and one the very young people we had in was wearing a suit that was obviously very new - it still had the label on the outside of the cuff - bless!

Corrie - none of my dresses are that short any more, so no worries there!

23/06/2010 at 07:56
aint gotta suit, really. Just smart. Do not like dressing up for interview (do not do many). Dressing up in 50s gear for Rock and Roll Weekender at end of August though . That is worth dressing up for
Edited: 23/06/2010 at 07:56
23/06/2010 at 08:21
Sounds fine to me HL

23/06/2010 at 08:42
Post some pics of you in your dress choices and we'll take a vote.
Ideally cover the range from smart to slutty
23/06/2010 at 08:44

I'm clearly out of touch.

I was on a course in another city yesters. In view of the heat I decided against a tie, and just had a light suit on .... considering that I was representing my school and, by proxy, my LOcal Authority.

Others wore shorts, open shirts, sandals and flip flops.

I feel like a dinosaur. I just would never dream of turning up to any event when I represent myself professionally, or my schhol or  Authority without looking the part.

Which makes me out of date..

23/06/2010 at 09:58
as a recruiter, the kit you're suggesting HL sounds fine to me for a lady. it's always more difficult for blokes and I'd still always suggest a suit and tie for an interview despite what the interviewer may turn up dressed in

with some of our clients that we know well, we'll often try to get a feel for this before interview so we can advise accordingly - especially in summer when a suit and tie can be oppressive combined with the interview stress. the last thing you need is for the forehead to be pissing sweat everywhere!!

on the converse, as the business owner I dress as I feel for meetings but if it's with clients I'll still wear a tie - bank managers etc can take me as I come as I'm paying them not vice versa!
23/06/2010 at 10:12

Talking about this yesterday, I'm a gov at a primary school and interviewed yesterday for teacher.  One candidate turned up in "top" (not even blouse), smart-ish trousers and sandals.  I thought that she was under-dressed and commented that I'd have expected all candidates to turn up in suits / dress and jacket but apparently they don't any more.  One of the factors that was discussed was candidates' dress sense - how seriously did they take the interview - based on whether or not they were overly casual on the day.  Interestingly, the younger candidates were considerably less formally dressed than the older members of staff already at the school.  Must be a generation thing.

I'd say dress and jacket fine - just make sure dress OK if they offer you chance to remove your jacket and it's far better for you to feel comfortable during interview than worrying about passing out with heat because you're wearing a winter suit!

Good luck with interview BTW.

PS You'll also look a bit daft if you turn up in a suit that's clearly wrong season, the interviewer/s might notice, laugh about it and put a mark against you for it!

Edited: 23/06/2010 at 10:15
23/06/2010 at 10:25
Thanks all! I wouldn't turn up for an interview in something casual (unless specifically told to do so) but the suit would be overly warm at present. I can feel a shopping expedition for a lightweight suit comming on
23/06/2010 at 11:14
Plus handbag, shoes, bling, lippy - the list is endless
23/06/2010 at 11:22
Smart, always dress to impress. Nothing ever can replace the first impression of a person.
23/06/2010 at 12:42
Sorry to be argumentative, but of course a first impression can be replaced by a subsequent one. That's one of life's big lies. I have come to respect and/or like several people I rejected on first meeting them; similarly I have found some beautifully turned out and friendly people to be poisonous, destructive individuals once I employed them.
23/06/2010 at 12:55
As an interviewer I was still in my cycling gear once to see a prospective volunteer! We have a relaxed dress code but I do eventually get washed and changed if I've biked in. At our placeit's pretty much jeans and t-shirt but if anyone is up for interview for an internal job then it's suit, tie etc.
23/06/2010 at 12:57

I say dress smart but dress comfortable for this warm weather. I've never turned up to an interview in a suit, just smart trousers and shoes and then a relevant top.

Just make sure the rest of you is well presented, hair, nails, make-up etc are all presentable.

You just don't want your appearance to make a bad impression (i.e turning up like you couldn't be bothered).

23/06/2010 at 13:02
Jj wrote (see)
Sorry to be argumentative, but of course a first impression can be replaced by a subsequent one. That's one of life's big lies. I have come to respect and/or like several people I rejected on first meeting them; similarly I have found some beautifully turned out and friendly people to be poisonous, destructive individuals once I employed them.

i agree

I couldn't stand one person when i first had to work with them for a weekend project when i was freelancing. I even stipulated that if i they wanted me to come back the next time then i did not want her as an assistant. They ignored this request. The result is that we have now been married for 11 yrs and have 4 children.

HL, wear what you are comfortable in (so long as it's clean and tidy), relax and be yourself. If they don't like it then you would probably not fit in anyway. Good Luck.

23/06/2010 at 15:03
RunningInPleasePass wrote (see)
Smart, always dress to impress. Nothing ever can replace the first impression of a person.


The experience of that person actually in the job can.

Talking to a friend recently (who's head of a primary school), she mentioned that they'd recruited someone in the past who was perfectly turned out (suit etc) at the interview, got on well with the staff, got on well with the children, did well in interview tasks, so seemed the perfect candidate.  Until the teaching started: then this person cut corners, refused to take advice, was rude to parents and failed to complete the necessary paperwork, deeming it a "waste of time".   They came to a mutual parting of the ways after this person applied but was rejected for an internal promotion.

In her words, "Appearances can be very deceptive. . . "

23/06/2010 at 17:00
Sounds a little contradictory from your earlier post Jeepers

"One of the factors that was discussed was candidates' dress sense - how seriously did they take the interview - based on whether or not they were overly casual on the day. Interestingly, the younger candidates were considerably less formally dressed than the older members of staff already at the school. Must be a generation thing"
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