Dressing for an interview is more nuanced than ever before, as recommended attire often varies depending on the industry, function and geography involved. For example, an investment banker in London may wear more formal attire than an investment banker at the same firm in Silicon Valley. However, there are a few good rules of thumb to follow if you are uncertain about which attire is appropriate.
First, seek advice about what to wear from the recruiter, your career coach, a colleague or an alumnus who works at the company. Second, dress at the same level or half a level up than the people you’re meeting with. Remember, this is your opportunity to make a good impression, while also selling the interviewer(s) on your capabilities and 'fit' within their organization.
Interview attire is most commonly designated as business formal or business casual. Business attire for an investment banking interview is usually more conservative than business attire for a consumer packaged-goods company, which would allow you to be more creative in the color and cut of the suit, the color and style of the shirt, and the design of the tie. While startups are typically informal work environments with employees wearing jeans and t-shirts, we recommend dressing business casual in these instances.
It's a good idea to bring a pen and a portfolio with an extra copy of your resume, a notepad with your questions written down and business cards. Do not bring in a drink and make sure to mute your phone.
Below are some guidelines to follow when dressing for your interview.
Business Formal Attire: Suit, dress shirt, tie
Business Casual Attire: Slacks (khaki or dark), dress shirt, optional jacket
Business Formal Attire: Pant or skirt suit with simple jewelry
Business Casual Attire: Skirt or pants with blouse or sweater set