Our industry has a reputation for all things casual. You’ve likely heard the jokes about tech companies offering in-office beer taps, bean bag chairs, and video game rooms. While there may be some truth in these memes, don’t forget – working at a tech company is still work.
So if you’re in the market for a new tech job, you’re likely wondering what to wear to your interviews. Do you go for jeans or a suit? Should you wear pants on a Zoom call? What’s the vibe?
Show out for your next tech job interview with these style tips.
The tech industry has officially challenged how we think about the way we show up to work — we’re an industry of innovation, after all. With this challenge, people feel more welcome to show up in what makes them feel most like themselves. So when you’re getting prepped for your next interview, stay true to you. What’s your personal style? The good news is you can find ways to honor it in this industry. Whether you’re a jeans-and-a-smart-tee kind of person or you live every day like it’s Fashion Week, there’s space for you.
Let’s all just agree to leave the pajamas at home, ok?
Comfort is key when it comes to dressing for a job interview. If you don’t feel great in a three-piece suit or high heels, it’s going to translate into how you carry yourself and it could throw off the entire vibe of the interview. So don’t wear them! You want to exude confidence. Why? Because just like in the dating game, confidence is attractive in the job search. Someone who knows they’ll get hired (eventually), exudes positivity, and has obvious faith in themselves is going to impress hiring managers. That’s just the way the game goes.
When it comes to choosing the right ‘fit for your tech job interview, keep this in mind. By now you probably know what kind of fabrics, shapes, and garments make you feel the most comfortable. Think about those and how you can stay true to your own comfort while still slaying it with “professionalism.” This term gets thrown around a lot and has been used to discriminate (gross) in the past, so we’re going to rewrite the concept when it comes to your work dress code. When striving for professionalism, focus on cleanliness and simplicity. That’s it, fam.
Throwing it back to my high school theatre days, I’ll leave you with a bit of advice: dress for the part you want to have. This sometimes means being adaptable to trying new looks or being a bit more formal than you’re used to. For high-school-theatre me, this role was the plate in Beauty and the Beast. For you, this could be Software Engineer or UX Designer at a local startup.
Generally, tech is a more casual field when it comes to dress codes, but pay attention to the context of the specific company and position you’ll be interviewing for. A good way to figure out what to wear to your first in-person or video interview is by asking questions about the company dress code during the phone screen.
You can also look at employee reviews on Glassdoor or see if these policies are listed anywhere on the company website. Keep this tip from IvyExec in mind: “When you go into the interview, you want to complement their culture, not stand against it.” Company culture is going to be the most helpful piece of information to consider when choosing a tech job interview outfit. (And you should probably wear pants on the Zoom call to keep it professional, sorry not sorry).
If you’re going for a high-level position, you may want to err on the business side of business casual. But be prepared to adapt your outfit depending on the context of where you’d fit into the company as a potential employee.
Now get out there and slay!