How to dress for a casual job interview

You wouldn’t turn up to a job interview for a position at your local supermarket dressed impeccably in a three-piece suit. You always need to look neat, but the key for casual job interviews is to dress slightly more formally than the employees that work there.

But what if I don’t know how they dress?

It could be that you’re going for a position at a small business where there are too few employees to gauge the style requirements, or where you’ve never seen the employees and therefore have no idea what is expected. This is a little more challenging- if you can, find out from someone that works there what the dress code is. At the very least, you can try to determine what to wear from observing employees at other businesses in the same industry.

Assuming that you have no way of finding out what style is appropriate, dress intermediately. Don’t go all-out by wearing a full suit if you’re going for, say, a manual labour or retail job. Wear a fairly nondescript but moderately tailored outfit. A pair of fitted jeans, a shirt and dress shoes is a foolproof outfit if you have no idea what calibre of formality is expected.

Don't wear a waistcoat if this is the job you're applying for.
Don’t wear a waistcoat if this is the job you’re applying for.

Why you need to dress like an employee

If you turn up in a completely inappropriate outfit, the interviewer will think you’re an idiot before you’ve even opened your mouth. This goes for both dressing too informally and dressing too formally. You need to show that you have a grasp on what’s expected of you, and that you’re aware of the company’s culture.

Neatness is key

The most important aspect of how you dress for a job interview is being neat and tidy. Every piece should be freshly washed and ironed, everything that is meant to be tucked in should be nicely tucked, there should be no inappropriate accessories. Don’t forget a belt- unless you are going for a position in the trades where asscrack is desirable, ensure that your pants stay where they’re meant to.

No slogan tee shirts

Steer clear of any item that could be offensive, such as a funny slogan tee shirt or one of those awful naked woman tee shirts. You also want your outfit to be distraction free so your interviewer concentrates on you rather than the interesting stains on your shirt.

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