How To Dress For The Job Interview

Published May 18, 2010

Reading time: 3 minutes.

Some students and friends of mine have been out looking for jobs lately, and as developers, it’s not always clear what you should wear. Dress too nicely and you’ll look like you won’t fit in. Dress too casually and you run the risk of insulting people or appearing that you don’t care enough to dress up for a job interview.

Obviously the first thing you could do is just ask someone who currently works there what you should wear for an interview. Don’t ask directly, but perhaps inquire during the phone screen what the dress code is, and then dress a bit higher than that.

Another great piece of advice I’ve heard is that you should “dress like you’re going on a first date.” I like how that one sounds.

But another thing you could do, which I did, is just turn it over to Twitter. I asked my followers what our peers are wearing to job interviews, and I got some great replies.

Some people really insisted on dressing up for the interview, but “dressing up” had a lot of different meanings.

I wear a modern suit and tie to dev interviews. When I interview devs, I expect them to dress professionally. Dress matters.

joshpuetz

I always wear a suit and tie for everything but a final Manager interview. No one ever got fired for dressing nice.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/jasonmotylinski/status/14230830000">jasonmotylinski</a>
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“business casual” – no tie or jacket, but professional shirt/pants/shoes combo.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/jeffcohen">jeffcohen</a>
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I think last time I did slacks and a polo. Austin is a pretty casual town, though.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/benkimball/status/14231248110">benkimball</a>
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i wore smart shirt, trousers, and a jumper. i also had a shave and washed… that was quite a step up for me…

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/Lenary/status/14232298961">Lenary</a>
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i did wear a suit and tie to my job interview but realized i was overdressed as all those were in casual…although I don’t think I’d dress casual for another interview… just because I think it would make a better impression not to.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/wavded/status/14231937654">wavded</a>
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And some had the opposite feeling:

Whatever they want?!? I’m not sure I’d work somewhere that my style of dress would be a problem.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/RobotDeathSquad/status/14239285029">RobotDeathSquad</a>
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I wore a coat and tie … but then the guys told me that jeans probably would have been better. Ugh.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/boblmartens/status/14231145907">boblmartens</a>
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I’ve seen people wearing suits while I wore well, t-shirt and jeans to interviews (this has happened twice) and I got the job.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/Seivanheidari/status/14231687156">Seivanheidari</a>
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Others said that dressing up made them uncomfortable.

Last set I wore what I would have worn on a regular work day. I feel less credible in a tech interview if I’m wearing a suit.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/noelrap/status/14231785647">noelrap</a>
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My opinion, the more I need to dress up for an interview, the greater the chance I’ll hate the job.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/ethangunderson/status/14230688460">ethangunderson</a>
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Finally, a few suggested it’s important to know your environment.

Depends on the company – dress to their upper bound

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/dahlbyk/status/14238650355">dahlbyk</a>
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I don’t go on interviews but when I’m going to a client’s office for the first time I always ask what the dress is and adjust

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/hardbap/status/14232899238">hardbap</a>
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Khaki’s, polo or button down and either a sport coat or not, depending on the place.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/jwynia/status/14235514735">jwynia</a>
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you have to know the culture and ‘dress-code’ of the company before an interview. you don’t want to be too formal or under formal

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/kblake/status/14232025572">kblake</a>
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i was given advice to dress up a “level” than the dress code at that company.

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  <a title="" href="http://twitter.com/jonhoman/status/14230328090">jonhoman</a>
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So, how do you think you should dress for your next interview?

P.S. Thanks to everyone for chiming in!