WHAT TO WEAR IN YOUR TECH INTERVIEW
Dress codes in all sorts of organisations are becoming rapidly more casual. The tech industry is at the leading edge of this move; we’ve all seen figures like Mark Zuckerberg in his jeans and blue t-shirt, or Steve Jobs in his black polo-neck jumper. Many candidates feel that an interview for a technical role is more about what you know than how you look. But is this really the case?
REMEMBER IT'S AN INTERVIEW
Even for a company which has a very relaxed dress code, you should remember that you are trying to make a great first impression. That doesn’t mean having to wear a power suit or even a shirt and tie. But on the other hand, it doesn’t mean turning up in your ripped jeans, flip-flops and a T-shirt with an offensive slogan on it either. Whatever you choose to wear, your clothes should be neat and clean.
WHAT TYPE OF ROLE IS IT?
To complicate matters further, different roles within the same organisation might have different dress standards. If your tech developer role means you spend your day in the office with other tech developers, your dress code may be very casual. However, if you are being interviewed for a sales role where you’ll be going out and pitching to clients, you may be expected to dress more formally. The company’s website or social media feed are usually good sources of information about what people employed by the organisation are wearing.
WHAT IS 'SMART CASUAL' ANYWAY?
Lots of tech companies operate a smart casual dress policy. That’s the dress code you should adopt too when going for interview, but what exactly does smart casual mean? It’s perhaps easiest to state what it isn’t. Smart casual usually rules out jeans, shorts, trainers and anything you’d wear on a beach. At the other end of the extreme, smart suits, shirts and ties are too formal for 'smart casual'.
The ideal smart casual outfit for a tech job would be something like a pair of cotton trousers or skirt with a shirt or smart top. If it’s cool, wear a jacket too if you wish. You don’t need formal business shoes, but avoid trainers.
COMFORTABLE IS KEY
Interviews can be a high-pressure situation and the last thing you want is shoes which pinch or an uncomfortable shirt distracting you. Comfort is key, so wear clothes you feel confident in, and can relax in. Make sure that your clothes are clean and stain-free, with no missing buttons or hems coming down. Ask a friend for their opinion on your interview outfit if you’re not sure whether it’s appropriate or not.
SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY
Interviews are also designed to gauge your 'fit' with the organisation and working out what sort of person you are. Don’t be afraid to show your individuality in your clothing choices. A brightly coloured shirt or unusual jewellery will make you stand out from the crowd. However, you want the interviewers’ focus to be firmly on your experience and what you’re saying, not your unusual choice of hat or trousers.