Summer Interviews: Wear the Suit, Bear the Heat

Bonnie R. Siegel, Associate Partner, Sanford Rose Associates

Bonnie R. Siegel, Associate Partner, Sanford Rose Associates

This summer has been a “hot” one, in fact for the record books, with record highs for most states in the 90s and sometimes the 100s.  Heat wave or not, for those of you interviewing this summer (and congratulations if you are) the dress code is still Business Formal. I mentioned this because of some recent dress “faux pas” that have occurred during either video interview sessions or on-site client interviews.  Here are some reminders of the basics of appropriate interview dress attire for men and women.  Enjoy this “hot” summer, but remember to dress up for your interview sessions.

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Do I really need a new suit?

Definitely, do buy a new suit if you do not have a solid color business suit in a classic style.

Why do I need to dress up for my webcam video interview with a recruiter?

The HR person or recruiters interviewing you are the eyes of the hiring manager, you may not make it past the video interview wearing a golf shirt or forgetting to put your suit jacket on.  If you are home and only shoulders up are on camera, shorts and sandals might be okay.

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What does Business Formal mean when I interview in person?

For Women

  • Experts give the skirt a slight edge over pants
  • Dark colors with white or light blouse or light sweater in cotton or silk (forget the pastels!)
  • Low-heeled shoes – also dark to match suit
  • Conservative hose
  • Opt for a briefcase versus a purse
  • Little jewelry – make it conservative
  • No perfume!
  • Subtle makeup

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For Men

  • Dark suit with a white or light shirt (100% cotton is best)
  • Dark tie – throw out the yellow and red ones!  Avoid complicated, funny or picture ties
  • Do NOT wear short sleeve dress shirts – they are inappropriate
  • Dark shoes, nicely shined shoes, dark socks (no white socks)
  • Wear a good watch, carry a good pen
  • No cologne
  • Leather or professional looking briefcase

How do I leave a lasting,  positive first impression?

Clothing and grooming are key components of your preparation for an interview.  It reveals something about “you” and your personality.  You do not need to spend a fortune on interview clothes.  In one case, a client of mine traveled to the client site, but her suitcase did not follow, she was able to find appropriate business attire at a local Target and received a job offer.

Remember to be conservative in your look when you go for an interview.  Most healthcare organizations have dress codes and, even if they are business casual, it is better to show up dressed professionally and formal even if it is 100 degrees outside.  You will be remembered for your polished and professional look and hopefully be extended an offer.

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