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What to Wear for a Silicon Valley Interview

phooi

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I have an upcoming interview for my first director's position in the Silicon Valley and wanted to get the fora's thoughts on my interview outfit. Those familiar with SV are aware of the casual dress code so I have no plans on wearing a suit. I was also informed not to wear a suit.

What I plan to wear: (sorry no photo)
- charcoal 3B SB single vent cashmere sport coat
- white shirt with varying width blue stripes
- black wool slacks
- black belt
- black shoes

Is this too severe? If so, what would you recommend instead? Finally, do you think I should wear a suit?

Thanks in advance!
 

tiecollector

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I haven't work in Silicon Valley since the .com boom but don't all these guys still think they are young and fun and poo poo the tie?

The trend that I see in these offbeat IT publications is to where a suit with light blue or white crisp, clean shirt and no tie.

What color shirt are you wearing?
 

Thomas

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Sounds safe and sober. Presumably you're in a warmer climate, though, and I might consider a different color scheme - same jacket, navy trousers, with chestnut shoes and a white shirt.

Then again, I'm not familiar with the firm you're interviewing with, and I'm not up for director anyway, so take the above with a grain of salt.
 

drizzt3117

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Originally Posted by phooi
I have an upcoming interview for my first director's position in the Silicon Valley and wanted to get the fora's thoughts on my interview outfit. Those familiar with SV are aware of the casual dress code so I have no plans on wearing a suit. I was also informed not to wear a suit.

What I plan to wear: (sorry no photo)
- charcoal 3B SB single vent cashmere sport coat
- white shirt with varying width blue stripes
- black wool slacks
- black belt
- black shoes

Is this too severe? If so, what would you recommend instead? Finally, do you think I should wear a suit?

Thanks in advance!


That sounds OK, although I might go with a solid blue shirt, in medium or french blue, but that's personal preference.

if you were told not to wear a suit by the company you are interviewing with, then that's probably the best course of action...
 

sho'nuff

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you may just want to contact their hr admin or hiring manager to confirm the dress code for the job interview. nothing wrong with that , i do that all the time if they did not make it too clear.

the ambiguous "no suit" may also be including any kind of sportcoat/blazer/jacket as many younger or IT personnel just kind of clump them all together and may see your sportcoat as a "suit"

it may just mean wear a nice dress shirt /tie combo or sweater , dress shirt and tie.
 

Will

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Definitely call ahead to HR.

In my experience there are two different codes you may run into.

The more prevalent is that you would be overdressed in anything more than a shirt and trousers.

But there is a minority of firms where a blue interview suit is still the better choice.
 

Jared

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Originally Posted by diorshoe
the ambiguous "no suit" may also be including any kind of sportcoat/blazer/jacket as many younger or IT personnel just kind of clump them all together and may see your sportcoat as a "suit"
I'd be tempted to push this rule by wearing an unstructured jacket, with non-worsted fabric, and/or a non-business color (chocolate brown is for programmer). Once you get there, hopefully after you meet your interviewer, pretend it's your "coat" and hang it up somewhere (even throw it over a chair in the corner or something). That way you get the aesthetic advantages for those crucial first 15 seconds, but they won't spend the whole interview staring across the table at how "inappropriately" dressed you are.
 

teddieriley

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Maybe you want to opt for khakis instead of black slacks. It will dress down the sportcoat, so to speak, while still being respectable. I would also go for a dark brown belt and dark brown shoes. Your shirt sounds fine, but if you did wear khakis, a french blue shirt would work well too.
 

sho'nuff

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Originally Posted by Jared
I'd be tempted to push this rule by wearing an unstructured jacket, with non-worsted fabric, and/or a non-business color (chocolate brown is for programmer). Once you get there, hopefully after you meet your interviewer, pretend it's your "coat" and hang it up somewhere (even throw it over a chair in the corner or something). That way you get the aesthetic advantages for those crucial first 15 seconds, but they won't spend the whole interview staring across the table at how "inappropriately" dressed you are.

that is a very strategic and good idea. good advice.
 

phooi

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Thanks for all the replies. I've spoken to the hiring manager and it's business casual with a sport coat. I would almost call this SV "formal" given that most people wear jeans to work. When I've interviewed candidates who came in a suit, I would get the impression that they didn't quite get the culture.

So if I went with Khakis, what color would you guys suggest? I tried on a pair of chocolate brown but it didn't look quite right with the charcoal sport coat.

Thoughts?
 

teddieriley

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Well, I was referring to khaki in both color and material, I guess one could desribe it as tan, light brown...uhh...khaki?
 

lawyerdad

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I'd advise strongly against khaki's. To me, that's simply too casual for an interview. Plus, they're rarely flattering, especially in the "sit down/stand up and walk down the hall/sit down again" environment of a job interview. Outside of landscaping or lifeguarding, it's hard to imagine a professional environment in which a well-fitting pair of wool slacks will be seen as "too much". Skip the tie if you want, and perhaps even go without a jacket (although I would not). But please do yourself a favor and wear nice, well-tailored slacks, a nice shirt, and appropriate shoes.
 

drizzt3117

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Originally Posted by phooi
Thanks for all the replies. I've spoken to the hiring manager and it's business casual with a sport coat. I would almost call this SV "formal" given that most people wear jeans to work. When I've interviewed candidates who came in a suit, I would get the impression that they didn't quite get the culture.

So if I went with Khakis, what color would you guys suggest? I tried on a pair of chocolate brown but it didn't look quite right with the charcoal sport coat.

Thoughts?


Yeah, i would shy away from Khakis, perhaps wool trousers in a dark medium grey would work well with your sportcoat if it's not too light a charcoal color.
 

lawyerdad

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You could always go with some raw APC's.
 

sho'nuff

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and make sure you go give them a firm handshake, no sweaty palms, and look them in the eye when speaking.
but do not go there sweating.
i mean, one time i interviewed at deloitte, and it was in the middle of summer and when i got there i waited outside (was there early) and went upstairs and they did not have air conditioning.
i was sweating initially for the first 5 minutes when i was in my navy suit , due to all the activity before i sat down and settled in.
the hiring manager told my recruiter she did not like me because i was sweating.
 

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