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A job interview for a nerd

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Greetings all... I'm in the IT industry where for years my attire had been as casual as jeans and a tee. After working in an investment firm for some time I swapped out jeans for Michael Kors shirts, Slacks, Coach leather shoes, etc., anyhow, I have an interview for a "biotech research" firm coming up Friday and their motto is business casual which to me is an oxymoron: Business = Khaki's and collared shirts - Casual = jeans and a shirt ... While I won't be going to the interview in jeans obviously, many of my shirts are rather bold and stylish dress shirts. Many have patterns for instance Michael Kors: Orange checkerboxed (looks like a picnic tablecloth), striped grey and white with red buttons and a pocket on the sleeve, Joseph Abboud limish green, Geoffrey Beene, etc., most are non neutral... The most neutral shirt I have are 1) Cobalt blue Michael Kors collar with a blind embroided M on the pocket, and a "skyish blue" with the similar M on it. I don't want to look like a GQ misfit for an interview, yet I don't want to look too casual.

Slacks, I have every neutral color in the book, corduroys, the same. My question is, should I be bold and wear something that stands a bit out in order to separate myself? Being in the IT field, its never been much of a mandatory to wear suits... I was thinking: Beige Khakis with the Cobalt blue shirt, I have a dark brown pair of Coach leather shoes/sneakers, Timberland dress shoes, and a pair of black Kenneth Coles...

My usual attire is: Distressed jeans from Express, Versace, DKNY... T Shirts from D&G, Puma Mostros and baseball caps... Any suggestions are greatly appreciated... The company I will be interviewing for is similar to http://www.dialog.com/ industry-wise. After my initial phone interview, seems to be a position of typical geekland: Computers, routers, telephone equipment, etc... Being the interview is on Casual Fridays, I don't want to overdo it.
post #2 of 9
Here is a brieft discussion of business casual that should help you with this.

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=14109
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by subject
Greetings all... I'm in the IT industry where for years my attire had been as casual as jeans and a tee. After working in an investment firm for some time I swapped out jeans for Michael Kors shirts, Slacks, Coach leather shoes, etc., anyhow, I have an interview for a "biotech research" firm coming up Friday and their motto is business casual which to me is an oxymoron: Business = Khaki's and collared shirts - Casual = jeans and a shirt ...

Business Formal = Suit
Business Casual = Khakis or slacks and a polo or dress shirt, maybe even sports coat
Casual = Jeans and a tee.

That said, you're interviewing. Interview = Suit unless they tell you otherwise.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by demeis
Here is a brieft discussion of business casual that should help you with this.

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=14109

I don't if that's the best example, that interview is with Neiman Marcus, not a bio-tech company... and its for an informal dinner interview, not a sit-down interview.

My accounting internship 'interviews' ranged from boat cruises, office tours and a formal sit down interview. Different attire required for each.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aureus
I don't if that’s the best example, that interview is with Neiman Marcus, not a bio-tech company... and its for an informal dinner interview, not a sit-down interview.

My accounting internship 'interviews' ranged from boat cruises, office tours and a formal sit down interview. Different attire required for each.

Thank you this is my dilemna. For those unfamiliar with what I would be doing, it would be taking apart, putting back together computers (think under a desk, in a closet), fixing phone connections on a PBX, building networks. Typically in this field employers tend to be more relaxed.

While I labeled the title "for a nerd", I am not a pencil pouch glasses wearing nerd so suspenders is out of the question. While I am tempted to go in a suit, my fear is for the position, it is out of place. The company's website specifies a gym, massages, etc., which I take as "casual". Not to the extreme of jeans and a tee, but I think a suit would be overdoing it.

My qualm is whether or not I should make myself stand out a bit (risk taker), or neutral (boring follows guidelines uncreative). Not to say I would show up in a purple button down and an orange tie, but I'm thinking I should be a slight bit "in style". Any thoughts?
post #6 of 9
This might just be me, but if anytime anyone is going in for an interview, I don't care what industry, just wear a suit. A nice navy or charcoal, with or without stripes, a light blue or white dress shirt, and a nice tie. And don't forget some smart looking shoes. None of this Doc Martens deal or black shoes with a rubber sole. Unless they specifically tell you, "do not wear a suit", then just wear a suit. It doesn't matter if the interview is with the sanitation department. I've said this before, you don't have a job at the company yet so the dress code pertaining to employees doesn't apply to you. And of course you are going to seem overdressed compared to the employees running around - you're interviewing, and they're not. I suppose I can understand the rationale that you may feel way overdressed compared to even the "higher-ups" interviewing you. But I can't imagine dressing in a suit would affect you negatively and have them pass on you because you "don't fit in." Whether you fit in, I think, is based on how you get along with people. If a suit prevents you from doing that, I don't know what to say. Hope that helps.
post #7 of 9
Wear a suit. I don't care what they say about business casual , it is a trick.<g>

I have worked and interviewed at some of the bigger hardware and software companies on both coasts and it just frames you as a professional. At the DirectX group at Mr softie AFTER I passed they said to lose the tie.

The other thing is that you sometimes have to go through HR to get to the engineers to interview with and you want to frame yourself as a professional.
post #8 of 9
I think rssmsvc (!) is right. Wearing a suit implies that you would have worn one to your last job, and that you are a serious person who does serious work. Indeed, I think you could really get the mind-trickery working if you rock up in a suit, only to sling off your jacket or loosen your tie if the interviewers are in business casual. What this says is, I am a serious and sober professional, but above all I am a team player, and I don't want you to be uncomfortable by my overdressedness. Not a great idea for a first job, but if you're a bit older and more experienced...
post #9 of 9
I am in the IT industry as a Senior Network Engineer. I work in data centers that are dirty with lots of sharp edges and I wear jeans everyday. That said, I would never go to an interview without wearing a suit.

Another thought is that most IT people dress horribly and it makes the management types unhappy a lot of the time. Just showing up in something that makes you look like you can operate an iron might give you an advantage.

My $0.02.
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