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Do interviews require smart dress, whatever the job?

(24 Posts)
Questionsinmyhead Tue 12-Jun-18 22:56:13

My previous work was at a more senior level and definitely smart. This job is in a less formal sector, no management responsibilities and low salary. Definitely casual dress. Does that make it ok to be less formal at interview?

I have smart casual clothes that I'd feel confident in. Maybe a skirt and dark top, and brogue type shoes. I don't own court shoes and don't do heels.

I don't have a jacket and even in my previous work only work a jacket for interviews. Hate them. And it'll be really warm.

I would really like the job so although I will need every penny if I get it, I could still scrape together enough to buy new things if I had to. But I'm quite big and can't really pull off cheap clothes so I could tick the formal box, but i wouldn't look great.

Questionsinmyhead Tue 12-Jun-18 23:01:01

Crikey, I don't even own a smart bag. Do I have to have a bag? I carry a battered satchel.

TantricTwist Tue 12-Jun-18 23:02:45

Yes always dress smartly for any job interview no matter what the job.

OliviaStabler Tue 12-Jun-18 23:04:24

Always dress smartly, whatever the role.

Can you borrow a bag?

Longdistance Tue 12-Jun-18 23:04:58


Dressing smart gives a good first impression. I once interviewed someone who came to interview in their current work uniform. I also interviewed someone who wore converse trainers. Neither got the job.

I suggest dressing nice and tidy on the day. If you get the job, dress well for a few days until you get a feel for the place.

BackforGood Tue 12-Jun-18 23:09:33

'Smart' is, of course relative, but yes, you need to look like getting this job is important enough to you to have made an effort.

DuchyDuke Tue 12-Jun-18 23:10:57

A long sleeve dress can look professional instead of a jacket.

Yika Tue 12-Jun-18 23:14:45

Yes I think so, it signifies that you are making an effort, even if everybody recognises that you're dressing above the normal dress code. And I actually think it is better to obviously look as though you are making an effort even if your clothes are not fantastic quality or don't look stylish (rather than look stylish but more dressed-down).

HerRoyalNotness Tue 12-Jun-18 23:16:22

No, I’d do smart casual. It’s a less formal role, people say dress for the job you want, so dress for the job you’re interviewing for.

Do you have small tidy handbag for phone and keys etc? Use that and then carry your cv copy or other paperwork in a Manila folder.

MaisyPops Tue 12-Jun-18 23:23:53

Dress smart. If not full business dress (full suits etc), certainly business casual.
I've never worn a full suit for interview, but tend to wear wear skirt and blouse/dress and a jacket/blazer.

Questionsinmyhead Tue 12-Jun-18 23:25:41

My smart casual is Cos if that makes a difference? Still not a suit though. But not scruffy.

I'm familiar with the workplace and it is definitely smart casual for the job. Smart would be wrong. But I didn't know if they would still expect usual interview garb.

Sounds like I need to shop. No one to borrow a bag from. All my bags are casual.

I suppose realistically I'm unlikely to get the first job I applied for so I guess an interview outfit will get use!

Bostin Tue 12-Jun-18 23:27:57

It’s not true. If you dress too corporate for a job in third sector outside of London it will go against you.

In those cases you need to look like a very smart version of the people that do the job you are applying for. A suit would be too much.

Miladamermalada Tue 12-Jun-18 23:28:51

Better to be overdressed than underdressed.

HerRoyalNotness Tue 12-Jun-18 23:32:18

Cos will be fine. See if you can find a cheap practical bag in tK maxx. I wouldn’t use needed funds for clothes at this stage.

VanGoghsDog Tue 12-Jun-18 23:35:53

I work for a software company, it's really odd when people turn up in suits and are interviewed by senior managers wearing ripped jeans and scruffy t shirts. We don't care what people wear. It really does depend on the workplace.

Catsandkids78 Tue 12-Jun-18 23:38:56

HR in Tech / software

For us dress doesn’t matter at all as long as you are clean, smiley and presentable .

I care about your ability not fashion sense .

Hugely depends on industry and industry norms . I’d go smart casual .

notacooldad Tue 12-Jun-18 23:41:34

To answer your question I would definitely say it depends.
I got a job as an a head of an outdoor education centre a few years ago. For the interview I wore a pair of Rohan trousers and a The North Face hoody and Merrill boots. The guy intervieing me wore a pair of shorts and a Mamott t shirt.

However I think that proves go dressed for the job you want.

Badgerthebodger Tue 12-Jun-18 23:43:33

I work in a company where the sales staff are very smart but behind the scenes staff? I’m not so bothered. Even “very smart” tends not to mean a tie for men now and I rarely see a woman in a full suit. I think a smart casual outfit sounds fine for this interview, I think probably yes to a cheap handbag but no need for anything else.

Questionsinmyhead Tue 12-Jun-18 23:49:07

Third sector outside of London.

Feedback useful thanks. I think reading comments suit uneccessary but I definitely want to look like the job matters.

peanutbutter310 Tue 12-Jun-18 23:51:28

You want to look smart enough that it's clear you've made an effort, but not so much smarter that you look out of place. A couple of degrees above what people working there generally wear - if the vibe is ripped jeans and flip flops, jeans and a smart top would be fine. Everyday business casual, you'll want to be in a suit or similarly smart dress.

Given your description, I think what you've got planned sounds perfect. But yes to needing a bag of some kind that goes with your outfit.

sycamore54321 Wed 13-Jun-18 04:40:26

I'd err on the smart side as well.

Do you even need a bag at all? I try not to carry one to interviews if I can help it - CV in a smart folder, bank card in my pocket and don't bring much else. Or ask to borrow a small smart one from a friend for the day. I wouldn't bother buying a new bag just for the interview. But do dress as smartly as possible otherwise.

Best of luck.

EmpressJewel Wed 13-Jun-18 08:46:24

I think your outfit sounds fine. I agree with dressing slightly smarter than than the organisation expects, as it shows you have made the effort.

The main thing, is to feel comfortable so you can present yourself well. I think your bag is less important, if the role is casual, but it should be clean and presentable. If you can't, then either don't take a bag or drop your jacket or a scarf over it.

Good luck with your interview.

Serendipite Wed 13-Jun-18 09:12:37

I think you should dress for the job you're applying for. But never sloppy. No jeans. For example, if you're interviewing for startups, don't wear suit. Etc.

itstimeforanamechange Wed 13-Jun-18 10:38:04

I think it depends and I also think recruiters should be sensible.

Why would you penalise someone who came in their current work uniform? They might have come to the interview from work, what are they meant to do?

Also in my case my previous job was smart casual in the office. So if I'd worn a suit it would have looked obvious that I was up to something. So I explained to the interviewer before I went for the first interview that I'd be in smart casual. Second interview I wore smart jeans and got the job.

As with everything, a bit of communication helps.

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