It’s always important to dress your best for a job interview, but what do you do when the weather is warm? While some companies may advertise business casual or aloha attire for their employees, a job interview is the one day where you need to dress to impress. Follow these tips for dressing smart in the Hawaiian heat:
Plan your route.
Start by planning your route to the location because this has nothing to do with attire, but everything to do with staying cool! Drive to your interview, or take a Lyft or Uber to your destination, and plan to arrive at least 20 minutes early. You want to avoid arriving sweaty and out of breath because you had to rush to catch a bus or you walked all over town. Your outfit will look its best if you can stay relaxed and cool until you arrive.
Remain cool and professional.
Women should aim for a lightweight suit with a skirt or slacks. In the summer, look for unlined slacks in thin, breathable materials which will remain well-pressed. You can keep cool with a sleeveless blouse or a silk shell under your jacket. Feel free to forgo hosiery in hot weather, but keep skirts at no more than two inches above the knee. Pair your outfit with closed-toe or slight peek-toe pumps or flats, but avoid flashy sandals or strappy shoes that can be noisy or distracting when you walk. Jewelry and accessories follow the same rule: classy and subdued, not jangling or flashy. An interview is your chance to showcase your skills, and you don’t want any part of your outfit to distract from that.
For men, a suit and tie might seem like overkill, but it’s still the safest route to go. Unless you’re interviewing for a job where you’ll be working outdoors, you should plan to dress formally for your first impression. If the office culture is casual, you can always dress down a little for any follow-up interviews. Invest in a lightweight suit that you can match with a breathable cotton dress shirt, tie, and oxfords. To stay cool before your interview, avoid that last minute cup of coffee, and wait to put your jacket on until right before you arrive at the location.
Study the industry and the company.
While it’s almost always best to overdress rather than underdress for an, there can be exceptions when you’re interviewing for certain types of industries or companies. For example, a fashion or design house will appreciate your unique style in interview attire. A startup company might pride themselves on their informal clothing and attitudes. And a job where you’re expected to roll-up your sleeves and get your hands dirty may not expect candidates to show up in suits. Exercise your best judgment for your individual scenario, but remember that inappropriate or distracting attire will almost never help your case.
Ask for advice.
If you’re not sure whether your summer interview attire is too formal or not formal enough, ask for advice. The HR manager who sets up your interview can provide you with insight into the office dress code, and what the managers expect to see from interview candidates. Your recruiter is also a great resource when it comes to interviewing advice in general. She’ll have the inside scoop on the companies you’re considering and can answer your questions on everything from appropriate interview attire to the best questions to ask in an interview. Take advantage of your recruiter’s knowledge before you step through the door.
Contact us if you’re wondering what’s the right thing to wear to your next interview. We can answer these and any other questions to help you prep for an interview.