You Still have to Dress for an Interview

I know it’s been a while since most of us dressed up for anything.  Why would we?  In most places, there is nowhere to go, so we might as well be comfortable while we are stuck at home. 

But there are reasons to get dressed; to put on a shirt with buttons and a jacket and maybe even a scarf or tie. 

An interview is one of those reasons. 

A meeting with a hiring manager is the same in person as it is on Zoom.  The handshake may be missing, but the respectful attire should not.  Respect is the guide rail on how to present yourself in a hiring situation.

There are industries that are more mature and have long-standing traditions about how you should present yourself.  If you are interviewing for a banking, real estate or insurance role, a shirt and jacket show that you understand that history and those traditions.  If you are interviewing for a “transformational” position within one of these companies, you can push the traditions and wear a jacket and a plain, neat T-shirt or the ever-popular black turtleneck. 

More modern industries like tech startups and software companies built their traditions on different values, and showing up in a shirt and tie will be just plain awkward.  A t-shirt and a hoodie or jacket might work well in that situation. 

There are places to get clues on how to present yourself. You can look at the company’s website or find company employees on LinkedIn.  Their profiles may give you some tips. You can check Glassdoor but take everything you read with a grain of salt.  Usually, it is people who are super happy or super miserable who post content on Glassdoor.     

The bottom line is that you need to invest time in researching how you want to show up.  Even on video, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

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