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I have been offered an interview for a company, however I'm not sure what the dress code for the interview should be. This question stems partially from Is it appropriate to ask about a company's dress code during an interview?, but I want to know what to wear to the interview itself.

Is it okay to ask what the dress code should be, or should I take the initiative and wear a suit anyway? To add a little context: this is a web developer placement for a company in London.


Follow up:

I ended up sending an email asking about dress code, to which the response was simply

Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.

Problem solved. Business casual it is.


I wore black trousers and a white/blue striped shirt, tucked in, with a dark green canvas over-the-shoulder bag. Something obviously worked because I was offered a job on the day.

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    @Jim I agree with Joe here. I even linked that question in my question – Bojangles May 8 '13 at 11:29
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    This is not a duplicate, voted to reopen. – enderland May 8 '13 at 12:59
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    @enderland Thank you. It isn't a duplicate - I want to know what to wear to the interview, not whether to ask about the dress code during the interview – Bojangles May 8 '13 at 13:04
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Is it ok to ask what the dresscode should be, or should I take the initiative and wear a suit anyway?

It's ok to ask anything.

Of course, asking this sort of question may feel awkward. And being awkward while asking a reasonable question doesn't always make a good first impression. You may want to ask someone other than the hiring manager, if you can find someone accessible. If you did a phone screen with a recruiter, for example, that would be one good source for asking a dress code question. A perfect source would be someone who already works at this company, or a friend of someone who already works at this company.

And if the company is local, you could swing by a day before the interview and check out the place from outside. As you see people walking in or out, you can get a sense of what they are wearing.

In the past, when I couldn't find a better way, I've called up the front desk and told them "I'm coming in for an interview tomorrow in the X department. Could you tell me what people typically wear there?" I didn't mention my name. If you ask people nicely, they will often be quite helpful.

If you still can't get a good sense of appropriate interview wear, then dress up and wear a suit. Overdressing is usually considered less harmful than under-dressing.

Good luck!

  • Thanks for the answer. I didn't talk to anyone over the phone (purely SO Careers and email), and the office is in London which is too far to go to in person just for a quick look. I can always StreetView it I suppose – Bojangles May 8 '13 at 11:31
  • Is that what is generally suggested on Workplace? I suppose I can always post it as my own answer – Bojangles May 8 '13 at 14:01
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    Point of order, it MIGHT be a good idea to simply mention you'll be coming in for an interview at some point in the near future, rather than give them the ability to recognize you when you show up the next day. – acolyte May 8 '13 at 14:12
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    What you should wear to an interview and what employees wear every day could be very different. I usually wear jeans and a t-shirt to work; I dress up a little, usually to "business casual", for an interview. – Keith Thompson May 8 '13 at 18:06
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    I would err on the side of overdressing. If a company is really not going to hire me because I dressed up a little too much, I probably don't want to work there. – Kevin May 9 '13 at 14:07
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I know a lot has been covered, but here is my experience which was similar to yours.

I actually went to an interview WITHOUT asking what the dress code was. I came in on a Friday and it turns out Friday was casual day for the company. I was in a black suit because to me, that's standard dress code in a professional workplace (IT position). The hiring manage said I looked very well dress for casual day, which he said with a smile so I knew it was a nice complement. Long story short I got hired at that company.

The way I see it, even if they tell you to dress any way you want, dress for the best. It's better to be told you are over dressed than under dressed. Also, being over dressed says a lot about your attention to detail and the way you present yourself.

Image and first impressions are very important. It sets the mood of the hiring manager the moment he/she shakes your hand.

  • Thank you for sharing this information. I've generally settled on "business casual" with a suit jacket if it's cold, which seems to be the general consensus – Bojangles May 13 '13 at 18:27
  • Hey, definitely nothing wrong with business casual when you have a nice looking shirt with a nice looking tie. In my opinion, a good looking tie is more important! – cYn May 13 '13 at 18:39
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    "I was in a black suit because to me, that's standard dress code in a professional workplace (IT position)". What kind of company do you work for? I've only ever seen that in finserves (a place I never want to be again). – warren May 15 '13 at 20:44
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    Ahh sorry I think that part of my statement was a bit inaccurate. I meant the IT position is considered a professional field so I decided on a a suit. Of course nobody wears a suit to work in the IT department. – cYn May 16 '13 at 2:18
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You should always dress up for interviews. (Edit: In this case) go for the suit.

Note that you need to appear comfortable in the suit during the interview, otherwise get another suit in which you do. This is important in this case, because as a developer you may need to sit in on meetings with the customer where the dress code typically is a bit more formal.

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    This is wrong. I have a friend who in construction engineering who said those who showed up in suits never got jobs because it communicated to the interviewers the interviewee had completely inaccurate expectations and understandings of what the company was about. Additionally, if you're 15 and interviewing for a job at McDonalds, this is probably not necessary. This answer is quite misleading as it suggests something to be universally true when it is not at all the time. – enderland May 8 '13 at 11:36
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    I totally agree with @enderland. While noone will make decision solely based on the suit, it does make comment like "I don't feel you'd fit with our company culture" more likely. Also by some a suit might be taken as a sign, that you are not creative. – vartec May 8 '13 at 11:47
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    @enderland is right for another reason: when you're interviewing 5 guys in one day and all of them show up in jeans except for this one clown in a suit -> not a good way to stand out. – MrFox May 8 '13 at 14:05
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    This is one nice thing about being a woman. How dressy a dress or a nice pair of pants and blouse seem is entirely open to interpretation :). – Amy Blankenship May 8 '13 at 23:07
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    @enderland I said to dress up for an interview, which in this case was to go for the suit. Even for McDonald's you would probably wear your nicest jeans and a t-shirt without holes for the interview, or do you disagree? Also, for any development job it is important to show that you can be comfortable with the customers dress code in case you need to be in on meetings. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen May 9 '13 at 8:00
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"Can I ask a company what I should wear to an interview?"

Of course you can ask what to wear during the interview. You just will likely get an ambiguous answer like "Wear whatever you feel comfortable in."

Rather than asking an open-ended "what should I wear?" you should guide the person you ask in to giving you actual information.

Will wearing a suit to the interview be okay?

This pushes the person to give you a firm "yes" or "no", and gives you more information based on how they respond.

At the end of the day, as long as you don't come in wearing shorts and sandals, your dress will likely consist of less than 1% of your evaluation and won't have much bearing on whether you get hired (people may say they won't hire someone because of their dress, but if they were the perfect candidate and slightly over/underdressed, they're going to get hired by any reasonable company you'd want to work for).

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I would suggest asking the company contact (or HR) about the dress code. It can matter, because interviewers not only see your talent, they also see how will mingle with them.

For example, I wouldn't suggest wearing a suit for a software position at Google. However, some financial companies prefer suits. Therefore, it is better to ask and wear accordingly. All the best.

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You can wear formal like black or cream pant with white full sleeve shirt with lining or and blazer and tie if you fill comfort . And you also can ask company for the dress code of interview.

Asking does not mean that the person is dumb... it shows that person is well aware to make comfortable his self with company environment...

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WHen you don't know, there is no need to ask.

You will never go wrong dressing for any office-job interviews in a way which reflects your respect for the company, and for the people you will be working with - neatly, cleanly, conservatively. So what covers that?

It is always respectful and appropriate to wear black, dark navy, charcoal or dark tan/brown slacks (or dress/skirt for lady) either with or without a jacket (matching or complementary). For a man, add a long-sleeved shirt with conservative tie if you have one, open one button at the collar if you don't), dark or matching socks and dark shoes, black being most common. IT MUST ALL BE CLEAN and not smelly (that should be obvious but best to mention these days I suppose since some guys will just throw on what they wore yesterday).

For a woman, either matching or complementary jacket can be substituted for an attractive sweater that either matches or compliments the colour of the pants/skirt. Add a long-sleeved blouse or shirt (can be short-sleeved if under another garment) in white or a light pastel colour with a MODEST and non-revealing or no cleavage (your breasts aren't applying for the job, no need to show them).

As for the rest, nude nylons if a woman is wearing a skirt, thin dark or matching dress socks if you're wearing pants, and dark or matching shoes. NO HOOKER HEELS or clubbing shoes (that should not need stating but saying it anyway), wear either flats, or a heel no higher than two inches unless you are VERY petite. THen wear a higher heel in a conservative shoe.

Any male or female jewelry should not be flashy. School rings, family rings, stud earrings or small hoop earrings for ladies, sorry, no earrings for men. As for piercings, one should not wear piercing jewelry (unless it is tasteful and part of your culture) to an interview but if you are hired and they are worn on the job site, you can go from there.

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I don't think there is any need to ask this question - especially to the hiring manager. My number one rule in a job interview is to ALWAYS dress your best. You may come in over-dressed, but that will just prove you want the job. It is okay to be over-dressed, it is NOT ok to be under-dressed. I work in a casual work environment where pretty much anything is allowed (shorts, flip-flops, jeans, t-shirts, etc.) but someone that showed up in the same attire for an interview would not be hired. Showing up for an interview dressed casually, just makes you look like you don't care enough about the job. Always dress up, even if it is a casual work environment.

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