How Should You Dress For An Interview?

I recently had a candidate ask me how he should dress for an interview and although it seems like a simple question, there isn’t always a clear cut answer.

This particular candidate had already spoken to the manager on the phone and they hit it off nicely. The manager invited the candidate in for a face to face interview and the candidate confirmed a time. They are each very busy so they confirmed a time in the early afternoon, just after lunch, but in the middle of the work day.

That afternoon the candidate confirmed the interview for later in the week and asked how he should dress for the interview. Of course my first inclination was to say shirt and tie, as etiquette and traditions would dictate, but I hesitated in my response. The candidate is not going to be at his work dressed in a suit and tie and he will be going back to work, as a software engineer, not in a suit and tie, so I said business casual is fine.

I could almost hear his sigh of relief on the phone when he said “that’s great”.

My point is, why make the guy jump through hoops and into a suit for a meeting where he and the manager both know it’s just for show?

I can understand for some roles, some companies and some situations that tradition reigns supreme, but sometimes a bit of logic works just fine!

Do you agree? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.


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