Q: I have a job interview coming up at (a place that is known for its casual attire). I have never worked in the tech sector. Heck, I have never worked in the private sector! I’m a lawyer–the job is in (the company’s) legal department. I feel like a business suit is somehow the wrong choice. Any suggestions?
A: When you are interviewing for a position, you are never competing with the current employees, you are competing with others, who like you, are coming for an interview. So don’t ever let what the current employees wear dictate how you should dress at an interview.
As a rule of thumb, you should dress – at the very least – as though you were assuming the position a step above the one you are interviewing for. Because you are interviewing for a position as an attorney – who will need to be professionally dressed for court, important meetings, and the like – I would highly recommend you go with the suit.
If you are worried about overdoing it, skip the extras (tie clips, cuff links, ascots, scarves, large and flashy jewelry and accessories) and make it simple. What you don’t want is for your attire to be a distraction. What you wear should let the interviewer know that you are a serious candidate for the position and that you mean business. If, during the interview, you feel a need to show the hiring manager that you can fit in in a casual environment, let your personality show.