How to Dress for a Business Casual Interview

Job candidate dressed for interviewBusiness casual dress is reserved for your daily attire in a white-collar office position, but can be appropriate for some interviews. When is it appropriate to dress in business casual for a job interview?

There are a couple situations where it is permissible to wear a business casual outfit. Job fairs are one opportunity. They offer an excellent way for employers to meet dozens of prospective employees. The advertisement for the job fair will usually specify if it appropriate to wear business casual attire. If it does not specify and there is no one you can contact, it is best to go dressed in your formal interview clothes.

Another situation that does not come up too often is if the prospective employer has invited you out for a meal or to a special function, the company is organizing. Again, it is best to check before hand with the employer as to the dress expectations, but in most situations, business casual will be appropriate. So what is business casual? Let us have a look.

 

Man dressing for business casual

  • Khaki pants with a black belt
  • Plain polo shirt if your job requires you to work outside or performing manual labour, or a dress shirt if you are going to be working in an office and you know the environment you are working in is decidedly casual.
  • You do not need a tie, but it does not hurt to wear one as it shows a little more professionalism than not wearing one.
  • Shoes should be dressy but casual. Do not wear sneakers or sandals. They should be leather or suede and clean.
  • For jewellery, wear a basic watch and a simple ring or two if you so desire.

 

Women dressing for business casual

  • If you would wear the outfit to a party or out to a dance club, then you should not be wearing it to an interview.
  • A simple dress or slacks are acceptable as long as the dress is not too revealing. Neither one should be tight. A basic color is best like black, brown, or navy; avoid bright colours and patterns.
  • Shirts, blouses, or sweaters are all appropriate wear for business casual. Again, make sure they are not too tight or revealing. White, beige or more subdue colors are all respectable.
  • Skirts and dresses should come to your knees or just below. If they come above your knee, it should not be more than two or three inches and the slit should not come more than halfway up your thigh. Make sure your thigh is covered when you sit down.
  • For jewellery, keep it simple with a basic watch, a small necklace, and earrings if you wear them. Avoid anything that dangles, as it will distract the interviewer.
  • Makeup should be kept to a minimum and subdue colors for the eyes, and lips are best.
  • Shoes should be basic. Avoid high heels if possible, as it is distracting. Sandals, also, are to be avoided, unless your toes are covered. The best shoe is a flat or shallow heel that is not clunky. Always wear something that is comfortable and easy to walk in as you do not want to be seen struggling to walk in your shoes.
  • If you carry a purse, it should be small and basic with no flashy colors or distracting embellishments.

These are some basic guidelines to follow. Remember, your first impression is your lasting impression, and you always want to leave a positive memory of your visit so dress neatly, appropriately and make sure you check yourself out before heading out the door to the interview.

 

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Friday March 7th, 2014

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