Interview Attire

  1. Hey ladies,

    Recruiting season's here and I need some advice.

    What would you wear to a finance or consulting interview (I know they're more conservative)?

    Are black shirts acceptable? If so, what would I pair it with? What about pinstripe shirts?


    What brand suits would be appropriate? Where can I find form-fitting pencil skirts?

    Heels, flats?

    Anything else that I forgot, please feel free to tell me. I have to run to catch a bus. :yucky:

  2. Hi shu!!

    I'm so excited for you! No matter what you wear I'm sure BCG and McKinsey will be banging down your door. But seriously, I would go with conservative. You know it's a buttoned-up business... but you definitely won't need a three piece suit or anything. You have such a great little figure, so it's hard to find suits that don't make you look frumpy. I would recommend Theory -- they fit great, and they won't put you $2K in the hole. Black or camel-colored leather pumps will take you a long way... I wouldn't wear flats, but I wouldn't wear super-high heels that might make you look a little too vampy or impractical. Knock them dead, I'm so excited for you! If you end up at BCG in Manhattan, one of my best friends is working there and he'll take care of you!
  3. Hi Shu!

    I work at a large consulting and technology firm and we hire thousands of employees around the world through campus/university recruitment. I actually started my career here as a campus recruiter and have provided advice on this topic to many students along the way (I'm assuming you're a student since you mention recruiting "season" is here...recruiting is "seasonal" only on university campuses). I'm happy to provide tips here and if you'd like more info, feel free to PM me!!:flowers:

    You should also check with your university career center since they may have handouts or information on their website related to interview attire. They might also have hints about interviewing with a specific company since they see the company employees and years of students interviewing with them in the career center!

    First, think about how to best present yourself in a professional and well-groomed manner. You're right, most consulting and finance companies are more on the conservative side of the employer continuum, especially since their people usually work on-site at the client's workplace and clients pay a lot of their services. Being professional and well-groomed shows the clients, hey we hired a quality group who are going to be doing their best for my company. I know it sounds shallow but what do you imagine the clients thinking if their consultants they hired at high rates came in everyday in jeans and flip-flops?

    Next, in terms of specific attire, darker colored suits are easiest and most professional, in my opinion. To me, either pants suits or skirt suits are both perfectly acceptable. It is also acceptable to wear pants/skirt and a jacket - that may not be a coordinated suit. To be honest, I couldn't tell a brand of a suit (except the "Chanel" look), so buy what fits well, is professional and is within your budget. AGAIN, think "do I look professional and well-groomed?" It honestly doesn't matter to me if the suit is black, navy, brown, gray, etc. but I would stay away from bright colors and loud patterns. Shirts, blouses, sweaters, etc. should coordinate with the jacket and pants/skirt. So should your shoes and accessories (belt, jewelry, etc). Heels or flats are both fine - think professional.

    Ensure your clothes fit properly and look neat and clean.

    Many students purchase interview clothing at stores like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Macy's, etc. I recently noticed Target has some nice things too.:yes: You might also want to share interview clothes with your girlfriends!

    You didn't mention hair, makeup, etc. but again, think professional and neat. For example, if you have long hair or bangs and you have to flick it out of your eyes or off your face alot, consider wearing it back so you're not constantly fussing with it. I also want to mention perfume. I've interviewed students before who must've just sprayed themselves from head to toe before walking into the tiny interview room on became really distracting to try to interview someone while trying not to suffocate!:wacko:

    Also, remember to turn your cell phone to silent or turn it off in your interview. :yes:

    And finally, an "insider's" piece of advice...many campus interviewers can interview 6, 7, 8, 9, and up number of students per day on campus. I can tell you that after a long day of interviewing, I don't even recall a student's attire UNLESS it was clearly unprofessional or sloppy. Ask me if Susie Q, candidate # 3 in my day was wearing heels or flats and unless they were inappropriate/outrageous that caused me to consciously take note, I couldn't tell you. :shrugs: I would remember, however, what her major was and how she performed in the interview, and that's the important stuff!!

    Hope this helps!!! GOOD LUCK with your interviews and keep us posted!!!:flowers:
  4. Suit, suit, suit (pant or skirt). Always look professional on an interview.
  5. Good luck! I love interviewing people and I'm very picky about everything - including the way someone looks. I don't care if someone is pretty or ugly or wearing designer clothing but I care if they're well groomed and put together and confident. Definitely wear clothes that fit properly - not too tight, not too baggy.

    Professional hair for females is a MUST. You aren't going for a night on the town. Also, professional makeup! Please no glitter or bright blue eye liner. :Push: If you have a pierced lip or nose, take it OUT. If you have a tatoo that may show on your ankle or arm...try to cover it up as best you can. Once you're working there it probably won't matter, but in an interview you don't want to give anyone an excuse to not hire you (even if they don't use it as a reason - everyone has pet peves).

    My little cousin applied for an internship with my company and wore a pair of nice black slacks with mini heels, an ivory blouse (stylish, not old foogie granny style), and a nice black suit jacket. She wore her long hair in a simple pony tail at the base of her neck (not sticking up out of her head).

    I think that it's perfectly okay to add color...maybe a red scarf or a nice necklace for some sparkle. Not too much jewelry and nothing too huge or outrageous.

    Try not to be too nervous during an interview, though I know it's tough. Don't sit on your hands!!! I had a lady do this and it distracted me like you wouldn't believe.

    The biggest thing that I like to see/hear is someone taking notes and asking questions. Learn something about the companies you're interested in. My boss always asks interviewees something about our company that they would only find out if they'd visited our website. If they don't know anything then he figures they're just looking for any old job and not necessarily want a career wtih us.

    Good luck!
  6. I would wear - a classic skirt suit in black or black with pinstripes. Low heels, pointed toe, nude pantyhose. Button-down dress shirt in really any color that suits you. Conservative jewelry, like pearl or diamond studs. Hair pulled back or up professionaly.
  7. I second this. You should wear hose for an interview. Even living in CA, it shows you took the time.

    Also - you should bring a portfolio with you (copies of your resume, and references, past jobs/school info - you may have to fill out an application). I don't really recommend bringing a purse. And, I would leave the cell phone in the car.

    Brands of suits? I agree with previous poster, just find one that fits. Brand is irrelevant. There are good suits at Macy's for under $100. Stick with a dark color.
  8. I'm very curious about this: how are interviews done in the US? Who is doing the interview?

    The reason I ask is because my experience is quite different, I work for a merchant bank with global offices and got interviewed by an Assistant Director (2nd highest position you can be in my firm) and no one was interviewed in a university campus. The people sitting across the table know their Chanel from 20 paces let alone 2 paces (and this is not about the conspicous shape of the jacket): three-seamed sleeves couture vs. normal RTW sleeves and for men, bespoke suit with cavalry cut and 'real deal' vs. 'fake' three button barrel cuffs. In fact they even have a preference of ball over flick-mechanism cufflinks. There is an article in a financial magazine this week that 55% of what interviewers are assessing is body language and physical representation and only 7% answer content, whether that is true I cannot say but I agree with it.

    This is my take on the interview and in fact including your application form: it is a process of 'outsmarting.' You get a job not because you are the most knowledgeable of the lot but because you are good at convincing that you know your numbers. My view is very cynical but it works for sure to get me (and my colleagues) to where I am now, LOL: it starts from the application form, you exaggerate (I hope every lady agrees that everyone does this) and cover yourself up with appropriate stories about how you come up with that original story.

    So to me clothes is very important and, like the old saying, 'first impression counts' even before you even speak a word. Similarly so does manicured hand shaken even before a question is asked! That is not to say I am suggesting Chanel/Valentino/Armani Privee couture but I think they can tell the difference between a $500 suit and a $50 one because of the material and although it is shallow and discriminatory, it matters a lot to the first impression!

    If one wants a power broker - hence good for interview at investment banks - look, the visibility of the shirt should be minimal and even better non-existent. If you look Couture suits, they are worn without a shirt (reference: Grabrielle Chanel pictures). I cannot pretend to be familiar with brands but I think this look is better!

    EDIT: Three months ago, I got wasted wearing a pair of vanilla ice-cream coloured Manolo Blahnik Bombonu (apparently it looks too supermarket-esque) whilst walking around in the work place and so definitely outward appearance is important!
  9. I can't imagine a US company expecting a young applicant to be wearing couture quality clothes to an interview.

    While I admit I would not suggest Target (if you are that strapped, go to the outlets and I am sure you can find something), but all you really need is a decent dark suit. Many years ago, as a law student apply for jobs at big law firms, I invested in one dark "interview" suit and blouse. I would literally put it on for the interview and take if off until the next. I wore the standard student jeans-and-tshirt the rest of the time.

    Also, I have interviewed my fair share of college and law school grads -- as someone above said, you remember those who were not dressed properly and the rest, if they are dressed appropriately, are assessed on their resume and other skills.

    Good luck.
  10. I agree with the other posts. Be conservative on an interview. Once you get a job and get a feel for the environment you will probably have a little more wiggle room with clothing.

    But be comfortable! Even down to the right underwear and hosiery. I'm dead serious. There's nothing worse than something too tight, too itchy, a blouse with a loose button that's driving you crazy or scuffed shoes that are giving you blisters. You'll fidget and that's distracting to the interviewer.

    Always have a plan "B" outfit just in case. I've spilled coffee, run my pantyhose, broken a necklace, lost an earring along with other things over the years so just have a few spare ideas in mind whenever you're picking out an interview outfit and you'll be great! :wlae:

    BTW, how'd it go?
  11. I actually bought a navy blue pantsuit from Zara (fit nicely on me, but obviously it wasn't the BEST quality), paired with a white button up shirt, hair pulled back, minimal makeup and my Horatio Louboutins. I think i threw the interviewer off with my Dior bag tho.

    What bag should we bring? My Dior is simple, black and big enough for a file (It doesn't scream Dior at all)
  12. ^^ The Dior bag sounds great. Something understated and classic that blends with your outfit is best. You'll have plenty of time after you get the job to show off the rest of your bags!
  13. I usually wear a full on business suit, hair pulled back, some makeup, light perfume, and low heels. I also purposelly wear glasses (instead of my usual contact lens) for interviews to give that "I'm serious" impression.
  14. Thanks! Most of the girls in Hong Kong will usually tote an LV or Gucci around for work, but I didn't feel comfortable doing that for an interview. I'm thinking of a black b-bag or LV batignolles (sp?) for work...WHEN i get a job!
    i can't believe i'm thinking about bags before i've landed my first job..haha! :love:
  15. Wear heels but nothing too high so that you can comfortably walk in them. Stick to neutral dark colors: navy, black, dark brown (maybe) for a suit. Black shirt is inappropriate. Pin stripe is fine but a sold white or blue will probably be better. Keep accessories minimal, ie a watch and a pair of small diamond studs. Get a manicure. Wear pantyhose.