What to Wear to a Creative Interview
We recently just hired for an open position at GruffyGoat. I’m excited to be building our team, especially since it’s an addition to MY team. The interview process has been interesting and has led me to think about the interview etiquette that I learned as I was entering into the workforce. And… it seems like maybe everything I was told must not be the same any longer.
Really, most of what I’m talking about has to do with interview attire. I’ll be honest, my parents bought me a nice new black pantsuit when I was about to graduate college (and it wasn’t that long ago!) and I have literally never worn it. I found that the types of jobs I was interviewing for, creative companies and agencies, didn’t call for a somber black suit. I still dressed up. I wanted to look like a professional. I wanted to dress to impress. After all, this was a very important first (or maybe second) impression.
Let me back up and say that we are a very casual company. I tend to wear what I call “client appropriate” business casual but it’s not uncommon to see me in yoga pants. We really don’t have a dress code; it’s really just “be appropriate.” Some days this means shorts, some days it means a collared shirt or dress. All of this being said, I have been somewhat surprised, maybe even shocked, at the attire our interviewees have shown up wearing to interviews. Maybe I’m old school but I don’t feel like an interview, especially an official one, is a casual meeting. No matter how casual the company is that you are interviewing for. You still need to add the “business” in front of casual.
I can see you raising your hand and saying, but you just said your company is casual. Yes.
And, if someone shows up dressed casually it could just mean they researched your company and you should be impressed. Um, sure. Maybe.
I don’t expect or even want to see a boring black suit. Because you’re right, that would show me that the person did not do their research. But, there is a level of casualness that says a person just doesn’t care. That they’re not willing to put in the effort to put their best foot forward.
At the end of the day, if you dress “business casual” then you should be fine! [Google it.] Dressing up a pair of jeans is perfectly acceptable for an agency, flip flops are not.
Look at your creative agency interview as an opportunity to make a lasting [positive] impression. Show how much you care about the opportunity and also show us a bit of your personality. Your wardrobe choice is just another way to show us your love for creativity, even if you’re a boring accounts person like me.