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Thread: How important is a conservative suit for an interview?

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    Varsity Member Acousticfoodie's Avatar
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    Unless you work in finance, law or etc, would you hold it against an applicant in an interview if they wore a well tailored sportcoat/shirt/tie with well fitting chinos/trousers and nice shoes vs the traditional conservative navy/charcoal suit?





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    I'd say suit is less important than a generally conservative outfit. Sure, you might look nice, but if you come in with hipster clothes or high-water pants, you'd probably make a bad impression.


    And whoa! When I tilt my screen, the suit goes from just charcoal (dotted black) to glen plaid. So cool! (Though I guess that means my screen is bad)


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    @thmage, my monitor does that as well, so it's likely not a defect on your end, lol.


    Vis-a-vis the topic, as always it depends on the industry and the dress standards of the company as to how much that kind of thing matters. BUT, caveats aside, if I'd never met the applicant and he walked in in business casual, I would personally be offended and would not look kindly upon his undue familiarity. This is, of course, assuming that he is applying for a job of some responsibility, not a "flunkie" high school job. When it doubt, be conservative.


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    No, I wouldn't, but I also wouldn't take that gamble myself. I've just gone through a year of interviewing, and one thing I learned is that you can never know in advance what in particular would make your interviewer cross you off the list (note Kenneth, who wouldn't look kindly someone wearing a nice sport coat and slacks -- you wouldn't know that before walking in the room, but there it is.) But you can do your best to avoid some fairly common pet peeves that your interviewers may have. Unfortunately, for some people it's dressing too casual, and for others, it's dressing too formal. Depending on the line of work, of course, I think it's often better to err on the formal side than the informal, because the people who care enough to cross you off the list for how you're dressed tend to be, well, like Kenneth. They are themselves more formal in appearance. People on the other side of the aisle most likely wouldn't count you out for your wardrobe, because they're more laid-back in general about how they dress. So they'll probably be more laid-back about how you dress, and they might even think you are taking the interview seriously, albeit overdressed. Does that make sense?


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    I'm not sold on a strictly old school conservative look, as long as the suit you wear is well tailored and isn't too over the top. I happen to like colorful socks, so I'll wear a pair...but balanced with a grey/dark suit and relatively neutral dress shirt.


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    Assuming we're talking about a professional / white collar type of job, you should consider a suit a must. Any less, and you run the risk of someone marking it as a negative against you.


    I've done my share of interviewing others, and chinos with a sport coat would make me think the job wasn't important to the applicant.


    I know there are others in my department (engineering) who are more critical. At a company I used to work for, we had someone show up for an interview (engineering job) dressed in the "casual job interview attire" and as soon as he left, my boss at the time said "I'm not going to hire someone who doesn't even put on a suit for an interview". The job itself only required jeans and polos as day to day attire.


    As for how conservative the suit needs to be, this is less important. Interviewers remember if you look sloppy, but generally not what color your suit was. The exceptions being obvious.


    So, consider a suit mandatory for a professional job. Maybe there is a company out there where it ISN'T, but why risk it?


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    Did anyone catch the "jacket sleeve should not extent past knuckles" advice on the picture on the left? Knuckles? Last time I checked, knuckles are those things at the base of your fingers. I'd certainly hope no one would wear a sleeve that extended past the knuckles!


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    Why take the chance?

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    If you want the job, why not make the effort to put on a suit? It's not that difficult.

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    The thing is, in an interview, "well fitting" doesn't mean much. A guy in perfectly fitting sport coat and chinos is still less formal than a guy in an off the rack suit from JC Penny that's too boxy and has shoulder divots. Yeah, sure you probably put more effort into your wardrobe than he did, but it's the wrong effort.

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