Does Job Interview Dress Code Still Matter?

Bob Larson, CPC
Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

Feature Story


In today’s office environment, it is increasingly common to see office managers abiding a lax dress policy and employees taking advantage of the right to wear polo shorts or even blue jeans, as opposed to the more formal attire of yesteryear. Consequently, many job applicants may wonder: Are conventional dress standards still expected for the job interview itself?

According to an article published by and authored by Amanda Clark of Grammar Chic, Inc., this has indeed become a muddy issue.

For example, you may apply to a company that you know has a loose, lax dress policy, as the company may proudly advertise on its website that all of its employees wear jeans every day. If you feel totally comfortable arriving for an interview dressed casually, by all means, go for it.

But remember, the article pointed out, that you do so at your own risk: Clearly, showing up underdressed for an interview can backfire big time.

Why Dress Still Matters

 The need to dress appropriately—which, in most cases means formally—still does exist. Among hiring managers, the article noted, the following perceptions are far from uncommon:

  • Wearing work attire makes a person more productive and more focused on accomplishing the tasks at hand.
  • True leaders/managers need to dress better than the people they are leading/managing.
  • Casual dress goes hand-in-hand with a lackadaisical attitude about work.

Minding Your Appearance

Given that these attitudes still exist—whether rightly or wrongly—it is important for interviewees to put some thoughts into their dress. It’s not just dress, though, but overall appearance.

For men, according to the article, basic pointers and reminders might include:

  • Making sure your hair is well groomed.
  • Arriving either clean-shaven or with a well-manicured beard—not a scruffy or shaggy look.
  • Having clean fingernails!
  • Wearing a business suit that fits you well, and making sure it is neatly pressed/wrinkle-free.

If you don’t have a suit, get one—but until you do, nice slacks, a nice shirt, and a tie can suffice.

And for the ladies:

  • Again, paying attention to grooming—including fingernails, and makeup.
  • Remembering that business suits are a great choice for projecting confidence and professionalism.
  • Keeping jewelry to a minimum.
  • Making sure perfume isn’t overpowering.

One final suggestion from the article for both men and women: Wear a watch to your interview—because there is no better way to give the impression that you care about making good use of your time.

News from BLK

US jobs  reports for September showed a weakening of job creation numbers and a change in percentage in work force participation. We at Berman Larson Kane have also experienced a slow down in new job searches.  Although several niches seem to continue to heat up as competition for talent intensifies.   So our prediction for Q4 is a continuous need for employee both contract and direct hire with a shift in skill set demand.

In our cycle of improvements we have introduced stand-up desks as a way to improve health since many studies have reported that sitting at a desk for 8 hours per day is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes….watch your email for a BLK video demonstrating the new desks.