How to Dress for an Interview with a Recruiter

Nov. 13, 2015 How to get Hired


“Business casual.” It’s a term so vague that its definition can change by industry, by department, and by city/region. In Seattle, business casual is more relaxed than New York City’s business casual. It’s not hard to find different articles discussing business professional and business casual work attire, take this one from Seattle Business Magazine for example, but we wanted to take a moment to discuss where business casual attire is important, but sometimes lacking – in interviews with recruiters.

WHY SHOULD I WEAR BUSINESS CASUAL WHEN MEETING MY RECRUITER?

First impressions are important – not just with hiring managers, but with your recruiter, too. We see anywhere from 15-25 candidates in our office each week for interviews – this doesn’t even include those digital interviews via Skype (stay tuned for a blog post on preparing for Skype interviews). The most memorable people, and the ones we’re eager to place and present to our clients, are the ones that show up prepared, polished, and dressed for success. They understand that these interviews should be taken seriously, as seriously as one with a hiring manager, as they know this interview could build or break their relationship with a firm like Parker.

OKAY, SO WHAT SHOULD I WEAR FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH A PARKER RECRUITER?

Great question! As recruiters, we all pooled together to discuss some do’s and don’ts for what we like to see when we interview talented Seattle candidates like you.

Do Wear Don’t Wear
  • Neutral Palette
  • Too much perfume / cologne
  • Button-ups or blouses
  • Leggings (unless under skirt or dress)
  • Blazer
  • Tight or revealing clothing
  • Sweaters / cardigans
  • Clothes with holes or tears
  • Dress shoes
  • Excessive accesories/makeup
  • Trousers / dress pants
  • Wrinkled Clothing
  • Skirts / Dresses of professional length
  • Sneakers, rain boots, flip flops
  • Light accessories, i.e. watch, stud earrings
  • Loud prints / colors

One last tip that may be appropriate now that we’re in the Fall/Winter months… Take off your coat! Though you can of course wear your winter jackets, hats, scarves, and coats on the way to the interview, don’t forget to take them off in the lobby or right before you sit down to interview with a recruiter. When you keep a jacket on, it sends a message that you’re ready to leave in a hurry, moreover, it hides that great interview outfit you’ve invested work into putting together! Interviews at Parker can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, so get comfortable, remove that outerwear, and have a seat.

Still hesitant about wearing your gold necklace or purple tie? Gayle Luchini, a fellow Parker recruiter, shares a good rule of thumb:

“If you’re not sure, don’t do it. This is your one interview. This is your shot to really impress. If you’re worried or unsure of something, odds are it will become a distraction for you during the interview. Keep your mind clear of those kind of thoughts by erring on the side of caution and leaving it behind.”

As always, if you’re scheduled to meet with one of us & have any questions, you can always contact your recruiter prior to the interview for extra clarification or information. Part of our job is to help you be successful, and on top of a great and well-prepared resume, looking sharp for the interview is one major step to success.