Don’t Suit Yourself in the Foot
When dressing for a creative interview, don’t wreck your chances by turning up in the wrong clobber. First impressions really do count; people make snap judgements. You might be the best designer since Karl Lagerfeld, but wearing a suit and tie to interview for a creative role could backfire. At best, it looks like you’re trying too hard. At worst, that you won’t fit in.
The first step is to do your homework. You could post up in the car park incognito and clock how the well-dressed employees do it. Or ask someone you know who works there. Or do a Google search for pics of employees on the job.
Whatever the company’s approach to work wear, it’s wise to play it safe and dress up a notch for the interview. This demonstrates a good attitude and respect for the interviewer. Always choose an interview outfit you’re comfortable wearing. Clothes can give you confidence, but unsuitable garb can make you look and feel awkward. Try on your interview clothes at least a few days before the showdown. This gives you time to do any necessary dry cleaning, or choose an alternative if your favourite shirt has been devoured by moths.
Want to know what to wear to a creative interview? Read these tips and combine with what you’ve learned about the company dress code to make sure you rock up right. Our advice is based on three categories, in increasing order of smartness.
1. Creative casual
At the most relaxed end of the spectrum is creative casual, a category we’ve casually invented. A word of caution: Employees might show up looking like Monday morning at Glastonbury, but that doesn’t mean you should dress for your creative interview that way. You want to look the part, not come across like you don’t care. We suggest dark jeans, leather shoes (loafers or brogues), a crisp polo shirt, and a nice jacket. If the company is super informal, don’t rule out box-fresh trainers.
2. Business casual
What the hell does business casual mean? you ask. Well, for starters no jeans, trainers, or T-shirts. This is the middle ground between interviewing for a bank, and a creative interview at a tech start-up with a slide in the office. A stylish yet relaxed combination of blazer, shirt, and chinos is the way to go here. It’s a good shout to tighten up your shoe game in this category too. Polished leather rather than suede is best.
3. Corporate / formal
The final category is the smartest of all. If you’re interviewing for a company where suits are the norm, don’t buck the trend by getting too creative. For a clean, modern look your suit should be well cut, single breasted and slim fit. Avoid black, unless you’re an undertaker. Wear black shoes with a grey or blue suit, and brown shoes with a brown or blue suit. A white dress shirt finishes the look. If a tie is appropriate, keep it simple and one colour.
Grooming for a creative interview
It’s not only your threads that matter. Regardless how smart you plan to dress for your creative interview, get a trim the week before the big day so your hair has a chance to grow out a bit and doesn’t look too severe. You can’t go wrong with short and neat. When it comes to facial hair, have a close shave on the morning of the interview, or give your beard a trim. Don’t overdo the product - greasy salesman is never a good look. And, often forgotten, give your nails the once-over so they’re clean and tidy.
The right side dishes can really enhance the main course (which is you, by the way).
- Watch: smart but understated. Bust out the bling in your own time.
- Cufflinks: if your outfit demands it, keep ‘em simple
- Bag: a satchel style is work appropriate but relaxed enough not to seem stuffy.
- Belt: smart and simple, matching your shoes at the more formal end of the spectrum
- Shoes: you can’t go wrong with leather, always polished
Things NOT to wear to an interview
Finally, there’s no point scuppering your chances of landing your dream job by doing something stupid. We say no to:
- Anything baggy, ripped, or dirty
- Aftershave. Your favourite fragrance might be your interviewer’s kryptonite.
- Sunglasses - put them away! Sunnies on your head or shirt look straight-up foolish.
- Being flashy: expensive jewellery or crocodile boots won’t enamour you to anyone
- Displaying tattoos and piercings. Cover them up, where you can. They’ll discover your wild side in time.
That’s it. Good luck, though you won’t need it. Go forth and master the universe.