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I am currently going through the interview process with a digital agency. The role I am interviewing for is that of a Lead Developer/Analyst whose core responsibilities would be to:

  • Represent the development team by acting as a liaison with the internal design team and clients
  • Contribute to development and mentor junior developers
  • Report to the Chief Operating Officer with regards to expected project milestones, etc.

The interview process is composed of:

  • Round 1 (complete): interview with COO to discuss general product development and business skills
  • Round 2 (upcoming): interview with the CTO to discuss technical skills

For round 1, I was in business formal wear. As per their body language, the interview went well.

Because the second interview is more technical, I am considering dressing a little more casually as I would if it was a day I planned to spend with fellow developers.

My thinking here is that I want to be dressed for the situation- business formal with the business folk and casual with the tech folk. I am conflicted though because it is usually advisable to err on the side of overdressing.

Thoughts?

marked as duplicate by IDrinkandIKnowThings, Michael Grubey, keshlam, jcmeloni, David Segonds Sep 3 '14 at 9:42

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    I don't agree it's a duplicate. The situation (multiple interviews with multiple functions) is different enough from the cited duplicate to make this question valid. – O. Jones Aug 28 '14 at 18:20
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Because the second interview is more technical, I am considering dressing a little more casually as I would if it was a day I planned to spend with fellow developers.

My thinking here is that I want to be dressed for the situation- business formal with the business folk and casual with the tech folk. I am conflicted though because it is usually advisable to err on the side of overdressing.

Thoughts?

I think you are over-thinking this.

The situation is that you are interviewing with a second C-level executive. Thus, it's perfectly appropriate to dress similar to the first interview (in a different outfit, of course).

You would certainly be dressed for the situation as I see it.

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    My personal experience from 7 years in the digital agency space is that business formal is always massively overdressed for a technical person. But if the COO didn't react as if you had two heads when you walked in, it probably won't do any harm to dress similarly for the CTO. – Carson63000 Aug 12 '14 at 0:29
  • Yep - dress to show that you understand the role - if you are customer facing and highly placed, showing each person that you clean up well is more important than trying to be dressed like the other guy in the room. If the COO thought you were way over dressed, then responding to the concern would be wise, but even if you were meeting the janitor, I'd say dress for the job, not the interviewer. – bethlakshmi Aug 12 '14 at 16:54
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If you saw others during that first interview, even just passing them in the hall, you should have a reasonable idea of the general dress for that business.

If you felt overdressed during the first interview, it would certainly be acceptable to dress a bit more casually for the second.

If you did not see anyone else besides the COO, and your dress appeared to be in line with his, or if you did see others, and they also appeared to be dressed at a business level, then it would be better to err on the side of formality, and dress at least nearly as well for the second interview.

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I will add my 2 cents here, because although I am not a developer, I have been on my fair share of interviews.

  1. Unless someone says to you directly that you are overdressed for the interview, take it as a sign you are dressed accordingly.

  2. Always dress for success. You can always relax your dress if you notice everyone else is wearing a more relaxed attire once you get the job.

  3. At an interview wear layers, in other words, a suit, a proper shirt, a tie, and the correct apparel.

If you notice that people are more buisness casual dressed take off the jacket.

If you notice they are dressed casually still take off the jacket, and don't be afraid to show you can be expressive. I know it sounds odd, but sometimes people are looking for personality conflicts or matches by second round.

It is easier to train someone you like than someone you don't.


Just remember, first impressions are the most important. It is better that you are seen taking the interview process seriously than as a joke.

Some people are old fassion, if you know everything, but don't dress the part (as an interviewer), you won't get the job.

A way to bypass all the second guessing, write a letter/email thanking for the chance to interview. From there take the oppertunity if you are asked back if that what you wore was appropriate for this round of interviews or should you dress buisness casual?

Those are my suggestions, take them or leave them, but remember this, first impressions are never able to be done over after the first handshake or smile. So make sure whatever you wear you are professional and have your A game to bare. For if you don't, some kid trying to get his first job will.

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  1. If it's worth it to you, call your contact and simply ask what kind of clothing is acceptable. Why go through the agony of guessing when you can just ask?

  2. If you don't want to call or simply don't have the time to call, show up in a suit. You will be hired on the basis of your skills and personality anyway not on the suits you happen to wear. It is suits who are picky about you wearing suits not everyone else. You can rationalize your wearing of a suit by saying to yourself that you might run into a suit that day and that suit might be the Director of IT and their compadres and comadres.

Having said that, Hell will freeze over before I show up at an interview wearing even business casual.

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