Going Casual For The Big Interview - A Recipe for Success?
During a recent discussion with a fellow watch forum member, my forum mate indicated a friend of his was scheduled to interview with Amazon in Seattle, WA. And since I was a former Amazon Manager, my watch buddy wanted to get my insight on how his friend should dress for the big interview?
Amazon, and many other progressive organizations tout their very casual work cultures and environments. So much so, that they even suggest dressing down, and keeping it casual during the face-to-face interview process. But is this the best way to separate yourself from the pack of prospective candidates, leaving the most favorable impression with the interviewers and decision makers?
The major truism about people, and life for that matter, is that everyone carries with them, certain prejudices, and predisposed thoughts. And personnel managers, human resources directors, and other interview decision makers don't leave these aforementioned prejudices at home, in their cars, or at the front door, prior to joining the interview.
So while, going beach casual to a job interview, with cargo pants, tee-shirt, and flip-flops might sound like an ultra-comfortable way to have a discussion about a career position, that fashion look will potentially send the absolute wrong message to your interviewer(s), and your casual fashion statement will end up muting any professional statement you, and your career accomplishments make during the interview conversation.
My advice for nailing the dress code for the big interview, is play it business safe. If an organization promotes a casual, fun, work environment, make sure that your interview fashion selection, reflects a button-downed, yet professional personae at the same time. There is a definite line between standing apart from the crowd, and standing-out. And your dream job interview, is the wrong time to be experimenting with a fashion statement.
Lose the tie, unless you are interviewing with a company that promotes a serious, business formal image. A long-sleeved, button-down, collared shirt is suggested, although a high-quality, short-sleeved Polo shirt, with the complimentary slacks, belt, and shoes, is completely acceptable as well. And be sure to leave that top, shirt button undone, to keep your look loose, but clean at the same time. A suit coat is completely optional, but I personally feel the right sport coat can really finish a superb, business casual look. Lastly, don't be afraid to experiment with color, as the right color combos can put you, and your interviewers in a positive frame of mind, leading to a favorable impression overall.