How To Dress For The Job Interview

May 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm in Fun, Tech, Work

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.


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


“business casual” – no tie or jacket, but professional shirt/pants/shoes combo.


I think last time I did slacks and a polo. Austin is a pretty casual town, though.


i wore smart shirt, trousers, and a jumper. i also had a shave and washed… that was quite a step up for me…


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.


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.


I wore a coat and tie … but then the guys told me that jeans probably would have been better. Ugh.


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.


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.


My opinion, the more I need to dress up for an interview, the greater the chance I’ll hate the job.


Finally, a few suggested it’s important to know your environment.

Depends on the company – dress to their upper bound


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


Khaki’s, polo or button down and either a sport coat or not, depending on the place.


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


i was given advice to dress up a “level” than the dress code at that company.


So, how do you think you should dress for your next interview?

P.S. Thanks to everyone for chiming in!


Playing Some Music

October 7, 2009 at 12:46 am in Music, Tech

I got a new toy for my birthday this year, and have been spending a little time getting to know how it works.

Shuffling on the Kaossilator from Brian Hogan on Vimeo.

The Korg Kaossilator is a really simple device with only a few buttons and a touchpad. It’s a blast to play with and easy enough that anyone can make some cool stuff with it.

This was actually me testing out some video equipment in preparation for a podcast i am planning to do, but my external camera won’t stay on unless I am actually recording something – using it as a firewire camera doesn’t work for more than 5 minutes at a time. I need to get something else to mount over my desk. If anyone has any ideas, let me know. I plan to capture the camera and the computer screen at the same time for this podcast, as I’ll be showing how to compose music with Reason, and I want to give my viewers the chance to see the MIDI controller and keyboard during the screencast.

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Use Firefox

August 29, 2008 at 9:45 am in Tech

Yahoo thinks you should. in IE 6 or 7 recommends you switch to Firefox.
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

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My first book

May 30, 2007 at 2:11 pm in Book, Personal, Ruby on Rails, Tech

Rails for Windows Shortcut

If you’re looking to get started with Ruby on Rails and you’re a Windows user, this book will walk you through setting up some of the tools you’ll need, as well as show you how connect to Microsoft SQL Server and set up Capistrano. Of course, this is targeted at people who are new to Ruby on Rails and come from the Windows platform.

Curt Hibbs wrote the first chapter, where he showcases how to use RadRails and InstantRails to create a quick and easy setup.

The book covers

  • InstantRails and RadRails
  • Installation with the One Click Ruby Installer
  • Installing RMagick
  • Working with MySQL and SQL Server
  • Setting up a simple Subversion repository on Windows
  • Using SQLite and scaffold_resource to rapidly prototype a simple application
  • Using Capistrano
    … and more.

So check it out, won’t you?

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IT Jobs

September 13, 2006 at 12:37 pm in Guides, Tech, Work

Getting a job in the IT field can be really difficult unless you know people or know how to market yourself. It’s not enough just to know your stuff. The people who get the jobs are the ones who either know someone who can get them a gig or are really good at promoting themselves.

You might think that promoting yourself means being a big egomaniac and bullshitting people into hiring you. Some people get jobs this way, true enough, but they don’t get to keep them. The really good people are the ones who know their skills and can communicate those skills in a comprehensive way.

Here are some tips I’ve given to people in the past.

Do more than course work
There’s a lot to be said for getting good marks in school and having that great GPA. However, if you come to a job with only course work, you’ll be seen as someone who’s green and inexperienced. As much as the faculty like to pretend they are giving students real-world experiences, they are not. In class, if you make a mistake, you might lose some points or fail the test but in the real world, people lose their homes, their insurance, their medication, their life savings, or their lives.

Get experience doing some consulting. There are lots of opportunities for you out there if you just look for them. You can learn things on your own and then go get a freelance job.

Join an Open-Source project
When you go to an interview, wouldn’t it be nice to show people that your name is out there? It is for me. When I talk with people, I can reference articles I’ve written, patches I’ve submitted, and mailing list questions I’ve answered.

Internships suck
I hire students at the university. Most of them who have left me for the summer to go on internships say the same thing over and over… “I learned more here than I did on my internship… it was so easy. All I did was sit around.” Internships often provide a chance for a job, but don’t count on learning anything useful there. You might end up working on legacy VB 4 code like one guy I know, or just copying documents all day. Neither of these guys got jobs at the place they interned. They did get jobs elsewhere, but they got them because of the experience they earned working for me and going above and beyond the call of duty on their own.

Close your Facebook and Myspace accounts
Employers look at these to see what kind of a person you are. Are you a potential liability to them? Do you get drunk and stoned after work? Do you have political beliefs that clash with those of your supervisor? All of these are factors when job hunting because it’s part of a background check.

Oh, employers also look at your friends’ pages too. They might find some dirt on you on a friend’s blog.

Now, I’m not telling you that you can’t drink, get high, or vote Libertarian or Democrat or Republican… I’m just saying that you might want to watch what you have up there about you out there on the Internets.

Keep your skills sharp
The thing that’s paying your bills right now won’t always pay the bills later. While you’re the master Java guru, someone else is learning Ruby. While you’re making table-based web sites, someone else is doing things with CSS and Ajax. You simply cannot allow yourself to rest on your laurels for any time. Your job does not end when you leave work. You have an obligation to yourself to keep up on the new technologies or you will find yourself outsourced. In the eyes of your managers, an Indian programmer can write better code than you because he can write it faster for less pay. What are you going to do to keep your job?

Be innovative

Think of the most innovative thing you can do to sell yourself to a potential employer. Think about how much effort software companies put into marketing their products and do the same for yourself. Make some color copies of screens you’ve made or websites you’ve built. Think about “personal brand identity.”

If you want a job, you have to earn it. Everyone else is graduating with coursework under their belt. What sets you apart from them? Just because you’ve gone through a degree program doesn’t mean anyone owes you a job. Go get yours.

Now that I’ve depresed you a bit, here are some job hunting resources.

Top IT Organizations

Seven Tips for Social Networking Online

Social Software and You: The Virtual Handshake

Resume Tips for Technology Professionals

Show Your Skills on Your IT Resume

Showcase ROI on Your Resume

10 Tech Interview Errors

Tips for Technical Job Interviews

Are You More Than Just a Techie?

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