Interview Day: Business or Business Casual?

It’s certainly tempting to be casual on your big interview day and the question of what or what not to wear comes up often in my search practice. There is, however, only one answer to the question. Business dress is always appropriate and will never fall out of style. Even though many businesses in the US have adopted “business casual” dress codes, on your interview I never suggest you follow the “when in Rome” rule. Instead, dress to impress. Really. There are a few rules.

While I (never) profess to be one who can suggest fashion trends, I do like dark suits over bright colors on interview day. Dark colors (navy, gray, black etc.) spell smart and conservative and set the tone that you mean business when it comes to your approach to landing the next big career move. Funky loud colors…will tell a whole different story. This is not the story you want to tell or the impression you want to leave your future employer. Nope.

And…it’s ok to adopt a business casual dress code after that new employer makes YOU an offer and you accept. Just not on your big day. Make an impression and make it count. That goes for your shoes and your overall grooming – it’s really all about the way you look. Period. So make sure you polish those shoes, press that shirt – and by all means comb that hair! It shows effort, respect and demonstrates that you approach the interview like you will approach your new job. First impressions do really matter!

Make yours count!

About the author


Tim Tolan

Tim Tolan is the Senior Partner of the Healthcare IT and Services Practice of Sanford Rose Associates. He has conducted searches for CEOs, presidents, senior vice presidents, vice presidents of business development, product development and sales. Tim is also the co-author of "The CEO’s Guide to Talent Acquisition – Finding Talent Your Competitors Overlook," available on Amazon.