There's an easy way to figure out what to wear to an interview even if you have no clue what the office culture is like

Egor Slizyak/Strelka Institute/FlickrFiguring out what to wear for an interview doesn’t have to be a stressful process.
  • Deciding what to wear to an interview can be confusing, as offices shift from formal to business casual.
  • To figure out what to wear, call your recruiter in advance or ask a friend at the company what they recommend.
  • You can also scan the company’s social media pages for photos of their offices.

Interview attire is simple, right? Men should don a suit and tie, and women should wear their best dress and a jacket or pantsuit.

Well, those days are gone.

“Some of the most common mistakes people make when dressing for an interview are following old and outdated advice, or not taking the time to do their research and ask questions about the company culture ahead of time,” Marc Cenedella, CEO of career site Ladders, told Business Insider.

Plenty of offices have gone business casual, or just flat-out casual, so you might look strange showing up to an interview in a suit and tie if the VP is sporting flip-flops.

And while it’s definitely better to over-dress than under-dress, Cenedella said looking too formal for an interview can suggest that you’re not a good cultural fit for the office.

“Over-dressing for an interview can send important and negative cues to your future coworkers at a more casual workplace,” Cenedella said. “They may make conclusions about your ability to read and understand their environment.”

To avoid that situation, call your recruiter or a friend at the company and ask them what to wear. (And be sure to ask a friend who is working in a similar team as yours, as the dress code might vary across the company.)

Cenedella suggested questions like these:

  • Is half the office wearing ties?
  • Is half the office wearing flip-flops?
  • What will my interviewers be wearing?
  • Will I feel out of place in formal business attire?

You can also check the company’s Facebook, Twitter, or Glassdoor pages to see photos of the office and what people are wearing.

“Some industries, positions, or individual companies are simply more formal than others,” Cenedella said. “It is the job of the candidate to understand this and to determine the appropriate dress depending on those factors.”

If in doubt, Cenedella suggested going with “smart business casual” – neat and clean clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Dress for work executive casualSamantha Lee/Business Insider

NOW WATCH: Ideas videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.