A colleague of mine in Accounting recalls how she arrived at an interview for a large financial corporation wearing black suit pants, a dressy black sweater, silver flats and a matching silver purse. After a great interview, she was told by HR that her “casual attire” was evidence that she didn’t understand their corporate culture and they would not be hiring her.
A few weeks later she wore the same outfit when she interviewed with our company – a Creative and Marketing Recruiting agency. Her outfit (which hinted at her creative personality) paired with her great accounting skills, helped us realize she was the perfect fit for us. We made the hire and she’s been here for years now!
Moral of the story: What you wear to an interview can be a big factor in the impression you leave behind; make sure you leave the right one.
Whether we like it or not, research suggests that more than half of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look. Therefore, if you don’t fit that “look” a company subconsciously expects of its employees, you will have to work much harder to prove that you are still the best person for the job.
This is why researching the company culture is vital before an interview. If after conducting your research you are still not sure of the best attire, check with the Hiring Manager, Human Resources Representative, or Recruiter who scheduled your interview.
In the Marketing & Creative world, client environments can run the gamut. In some organizations suits are still the rule, in others, it’s business casual. And while in most agencies jeans and graphic tees are the uniforms of choice, there are still a few shops where board shorts and flips flops prevail.
With every creative company being so different – is there any way to appease the masses?
As a general rule, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. A safe bet when interviewing with a creative company is to don a slightly more conservative version of the typical “everyday attire” in your target company’s office.
A few tips:
- Solid colors are usually better than busy patterns; Same goes for darker colors over lighter ones.
- Jewelry should be limited to one or two key pieces
- Make-up, hair, and nails should be neat and well-maintained
- Go easy on the perfume, cologne, and aftershave
We also recommend that you find a way to show a bit of your personality – be it with a fabulous fashion accessory (shoes, glasses, purse or jewelry) or stylish haircut.
Jess Bedford, for Artisan Creative