IBMC Articles

Dressing for Success in the Modern Tech World

Several decades ago, people entering professional fields were inundated with advice on how to dress and act both during interviews and in the workplace. The most solid rule of thumb from that era as far as interviewing was that interviewees should dress for the interview the way that they would dress if they were employed in the position that they’re trying for. However, many young professionals dress in extremely casual attire these days, and it is not at all uncommon to see high level executives in places such as the Silicon Valley wearing ripped denim and other downscale attire to work. This makes it difficult for the average student in a technology college in Cheyenne, for instance, to get a good feel for what’s appropriate for interviews.

Those who are unsure of what to wear to an interview should let company culture be their guide. Discreetly observing employees as they enter and leave the workplace is a good way to become familiar with the standard style of dress, and further insight can be gained by investigating the company’s website. Even though the majority of the old rules of “dressing for success” no longer apply in the vast majority of workplaces, one rule still stands — always err on the side of caution when attending an initial interview. Dressing one step above the average employee is recommended when dress codes appear to be extremely casual. For instance, if the average employee in the company wears jeans on a regular basis, the interviewee should wear tailored khakis.

No matter what type of clothing is selected for the interview, it should be in good repair and free of hanging threads, wrinkles, and stains. Shoes should be scuff-free and jewelry should be classic and unobtrusive. The most effective interview clothing is that which the interviewer doesn’t quite remember because it doesn’t stand out in any way. Good grooming is also essential — without it, even the best interview clothing choices will fail to impress.

Performing preliminary research on companies prior to attending interviews is an important part of finding the right professional fit. In today’s business world, company culture is fairly easy to discern, and a potential employee who obviously hasn’t researched that aspect of the company he or she is applying to probably won’t get beyond the first interview.