It’s a question I get asked all the time: “ What should I wear for my interview at a startup or tech company? ”
It seems like a tricky question with the ever prominent rise of casual dress codes at work, however there are some really simple ways to figure it out. If you’re wondering “what should I wear for my interview at a startup or tech company?” this article is for you!
Look up the company online
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, there are so many resources at your fingertips! Companies like Glassdoor allow users to rate and comment on companies, giving you inside knowledge about the company culture, and what it’s really like to work there. Often people will discuss dress code and the general vibe of the office.
Similarly, if you go to the company website where you’re interviewing, there might be photos of employees or the office environment, which will also indicate the dress code.
Pick up the phone
This is something so simple, almost no one does this. When you’re wondering “What should I wear for my interview at a startup or tech company?” simply pick up the phone and call the front desk. Tell the receptionist or administrative assistant that you’re going to be interviewing there and want to know the dress code. Most people will gladly give you some one-on-one insight about what employees wear and how that’s perceived in the office. Best of all? You can even sneak a few other questions in there if you want to.
If you’re working with a recruiter, ask them what to wear. People often forget this, but if you’re working with the right recruiter, they will have your best interest at heart and will do their best to help you get hired. It benefits both of you.
While I often live by the motto “you can never be overdressed,” there are situations when being overdressed can work against you.
Stay a step ahead of dress code requirements (within reason)
If the common dress code is jeans, you do not want to come to your interview in a suit. Why? While I often live by the motto “you can never be overdressed,” there are situations when being overdressed can work against you. If you’re interviewing at a company known for their low maintenance dress code and company culture, showing up to your interview in a suit will show that you haven’t done your research on the company and the environment. Even worse, showing up in a suit could mean that you did research the company and didn’t care about the dress code and rules.
Instead, show that you understand the low maintenance dress code, but step it up a notch for your interview. If the dress code allows jeans and you find out that most employees do in fact show up to work in jeans and a t-shirt, opt for something slightly more professional while keeping in line with the general theme.
Try colored denim, a t-shirt, and a blazer. (As seen in the article photo) This look shows that you’re in line with company culture and dress code, however it has a slightly more polished and professional vibe to it for your interview.
Even if the dress code is casual, make sure you look polished and put together
This is the most important thing to remember when you’re wondering “what should I wear for my interview at a startup or tech company?”
I always suggest being a step above the dress code, but if you do decide that it would work in your best interest to come completely casual, just make sure that you look put together. Regardless if the dress code is super casual, you do not want to look like you just rolled out of bed. You’re still interviewing for a job.
If you do decide to go with jeans, make sure they are dark wash jeans without any rips or tears. Similarly, if you opt for a t-shirt, make sure that it is clean, plain without graphics or logos, and wrinkly free. If you don’t like to iron, (I hate ironing!) invest in a mini steamer. It will change your life and make it super simple to get the wrinkles out of any of your clothes.
There is a big difference between a plain, wrinkle free t-shirt and dark wash jeans than a dirty graphic t-shirt and ripped jeans. While they are essentially the same items, they look drastically different, and will make a completely different impression upon others, especially in an interview.
When you’re wondering how to dress for your interview at a startup or tech company, remember that you always want to look polished and put together. Do some research on company dress code, company culture, and dress accordingly. With the rise of business casual or completely casual dress codes, figuring out what to wear to an interview can be tricky, however if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be good to go!