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How to Pick An Incredible Costume…For Your Next Interview

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(Dwight from The Office)

Choosing the right outfit for your interview is like choosing a great Halloween costume: it’s about making an impression and embodying a desired image. IT is a constantly and rapidly changing field, and in order to keep up with the best of them and stand out as a lucrative job candidate, you need to look the part. According to a Classes and Careers survey of 2000 bosses, 65% said that clothes could be the deciding factor between two similar job candidates. So remember the following the next time you’re deciding what to wear to an interview:
Plan Ahead: Choosing a standout Halloween costume usually requires some research, whether you’re aiming for general Gatsby-themed inspiration or perfectly embodying the classic Edward Scissorhands. Similarly, preparing for a job interview requires doing homework — namely, researching your potential employer’s company culture. If you see that the company’s employees wear jeans and hoodies to work, you can probably be a little more relaxed in how you dress at the interview. For tech industries, “clean” and “neat” are good images to keep in mind; a nice button down shirt/blouse and slacks/skirt are a safe bet.
Know Your Party: Not every Halloween costume is appropriate for every Halloween occasion. Just as you wouldn’t want to pick a controversial costume to take your kids trick-or-treating, you probably wouldn’t want to be dressed in jeans and a t-shirt for a professional job interview. Conversely, you also wouldn’t want to go full on Donald Trump and wear a stuffy suit and tie to an interview at a trendy firm with a more casual company culture.
Stay on Trend: If you see someone wearing a “binders full of women” costume this year, chances are you’ll think something along the lines of, “That is so last year!” Similarly, it is important not to look outdated at an IT job interview. While you may have all the necessary skills and qualifications for the job, you need to look the part for a successful interview. Be aware of what looks current to avoid looking outdated or out of touch. That being said, you should dress more conservatively to an interview than you would if you already work there. In cases like this, it’s better to be classic than ultra trendy; think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s over Miley Cyrus at the VMAs. And remember, just because the 90s are back on the runway, it doesn’t mean you should wear your actual clothes from the 90s to an interview.
Wearing the right interview outfit is a sign of respect to the hiring employer; it shows that you took the time to research them and are dedicated to becoming a part of the team. After all, if you want to win the costume contest, you really have to commit to fine-tuning those details. Keep this in mind as you prepare for your next interview to be a standout candidate. Happy Halloween, IT pros!