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Thursday, December 01, 2005

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10:03 AM     How To Dress for Interviews

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When interviewing a lot of candidates, the most common misconception is that you should dress the same as whatever the standard is for the company. There are two problems with this:

1) It's not true.

2) You're just guessing as to what the standard is for the company.

Below, I've included an article from a guy who writes for Monster that tells you a little more explicitly how to dress for an interview.



Dress Appropriately for Interviews
by Thad Peterson
Monster Staff Writer

What do I wear to the interview? It's a question millions of people
agonize over on some level while looking for a job.

The bad news is that there are few cut-and-dried answers. As the
saying goes, there's no accounting for taste, and each interviewer
has his unique sense of what's appropriate interview attire. The good
news? Deciding what to wear isn't as difficult as you might think.

Dress One or Two Levels Up

"The rule of thumb is that you dress one or two levels higher than
the job that you're going for," explains Kate Wendleton, president
and founder of the Five O'Clock Club, a national career counseling
and outplacement firm. "If you were going for a job as a mechanic,
you wouldn't go in there in dirty overalls, even though that's how
you would dress for that kind of work. You would still go in there
and show respect. You would go in with an open-collar shirt, clean
pants and maybe a jacket."

As Wendleton puts it, by dressing a notch or two above what's
standard apparel for the position you're interviewing for, "you're
definitely showing that you care about this job, and that you know
the game."

Caution Is The Better Part of Valor

When it's time to get dressed for the interview, remember: It's not
so much that you're trying to get the job with what you wear, it's
more a matter of not taking yourself out of contention with your
presentation, Wendleton says. "Interviewers can decide in 10 seconds
that they don't want you," she adds. "It will take them longer to
decide they do want you." Chances are good that by dressing on the
conservative side, you won't unintentionally disqualify yourself. But
trying to demonstrate how hip you are with your exposed lower back
tattoos or laid-back Juicy Couture outfit could backfire.

This Isn't 1999

Once upon a time during the dotcom heyday, recounts
Wendelton, "people would come in with nose rings and sandals, and
because there really was a severe labor shortage, they'd get hired."

She says that young, freshly minted grads often make the mistake
these days of going too casual, perhaps confusing what once was with
what now is. "These days, people are not desperate for you," she
points out. "Recent grads tend to dress like they're students at
interviews. Nobody forgives that. Not in this market."

Use Your Judgment

Is a suit always a must in an interview? Absolutely not. Michael
Smith, who recently searched for a job in the Chicago area, went on
an interview in the midst of a bitter cold snap in that region. "So
instead of wearing a suit, I wore black slacks and a sweater," says
Smith. "The sweater was large and cable-knit but very nice and high
quality. The interviewer actually said to me that it was nice to see
something other than a suit walk through his door. And a week later,
I got the job."

So be sure to learn about an industry's fashion culture; some are
obviously more casual than others. It's also usually fine to inquire
about the dress code while setting up the interview. An Armani coat
and tie or your nice Ann Taylor outfit may not be required if you
discover the dress code is casual.

"But it's never fine to go in with a collarless shirt," warns
Wendleton. And for men, she suggests putting on a jacket, even when
not wearing a tie.

Being Too True to Yourself

There are those who say it's pointless to dress for an interview in a
way that you wouldn't once you're on the job. Why misrepresent
yourself to a future employer or try to be someone you're not?

"If you want to have eight earrings and have your tongue pierced,
that's fine," says Wendleton. "But you're showing you don't know how
to play the game. If it's so important to you, go ahead and dress
like you normally do, but realize that you may not get the job."

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