It’s been said that you can’t make a first impression twice.
You have an on-site interview at a company you’re very excited about. What do you wear?
A- Call the recruiter and ask what would be appropriate.
B- Wear a suit and tie.
C- Try matching the culture of the office, dress shirt and jeans perhaps?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but my hunch has been off for the last few years and I’ll broaden your experience at my expense.
If you walk into Google in a suit, people will think you’re either interviewing or you’re a client. You won’t match the culture, but that’s okay. You’ve put your best foot forward for a chance of a lifetime and you don’t want any regrets if you don’t get the job. In reality, I’ve worn a suit with no tie and that’s been acceptable. A culture like Google probably gives you an opportunity to dress how you’d like without being judged as long as you’re business casual.
I’ve walked into another interview with a suit and tie and the hiring manager cracked a joke to convey that I was over dressed. It actually broke the ice, and without him noticing I removed my suit jacket and rolled up my sleeves. Prior to lunch, I also removed my tie. A friend of mine said afterwards, “So, basically you were stripping during the interview?” My response, “Not exactly..but can you break a $20?”
All jokes aside, you can mirror your audience and if you over dress you can always adjust. If you under dress and they call you out on it, you’re screwed. Hopefully you nailed your interview so they don’t judge you on being under dressed.
I was chatting with a hiring manager by the water cooler in an office environment where everyone was wearing jeans and I was the most over dressed person in the building. Jokingly (but seriously) I said, “Seems like the only time I wear suits anymore are at weddings, funerals, and interviews.”
Remember, you can always give the recruiter a ring and ask if they’d recommend wearing a suit and tie, they’ll always point you in the right direction.