At The Bagg Group, we know it’s hard to dress to interview for a job opportunity in the GTA or anywhere in Canada during a heat wave.
With that in mind, here are top tips from The Bagg Group expert recruiters on how to dress for a work interview — even in a heat dome.
Look for clues online: If working with a recruiter, or if you have a contact at the company you’re interviewing with, ask their advice on what to wear. If not, check out pictures of how staff dresses in the office on the company’s website and social media pages. (But discount special occasion photos, like company picnics). Also, look at the profile picture of the hiring manager on LinkedIn.
Err on the side of professional: The idea is to show you’re a fit — you wouldn’t wear an informal outfit to a bank interview and you wouldn’t want to wear a full-out banker’s business suit to an interview with a start-up creative agency. But if going casual, make it business casual, not backyard casual. Interviewers want to feel you’re making an effort, and taking the process, and the company, seriously.
Don’t let the heat show: We’re all impressed by people who look like they’re cool – literally. Sure, except for James Bond, all humans melt in the heat –perspiration runs down our face, our hair gets wet, stains appear. But arriving dripping to an interview really isn’t a good look. Here’s what you can do:
Plan to leave earlier for your interview to give yourself time to cool down. Research ahead to see if there’s an air conditioned coffee shop or store very close by where you can wait.
Drink water. Dehydration is proven to hurt performance.
Carry face wipes with you to dry your face down before you get to reception.
Don’t put on your light jacket until you get to the lobby. (Consider how you can carry it with you so it doesn’t wrinkle on the way.)
Do a dress rehearsal: It’s a great idea to get an outfit ready the day before, so you don’t have the added stress of discovering last minute that your shirt is missing a button, etc. (We’ve all been there!) First impressions are super powerful and happen in a blink of an eye. Interviewers can’t help but notice things like coffee stains, ill-fitting or rumpled clothes and, fair or not, it affects how you’re perceived.
It’s summer, who cares what I wear to interview for a job in the GTA? Hiring managers do.
In all surveys, more than half of all hiring managers say the way a person dresses has a big impact on their employability. Hiring managers typically say they believe a person’s choice of wardrobe says a lot about their professional judgment.
Everyone wears spaghetti straps –can I wear them to an interview? Not a good idea.
Flimsy sundresses are really in – I’m just being fashionable? Nope, not for a work interview.
Yoga pants, shorts, t-shirts with sayings on them, cut-out tops, backless tops, Hawaiin or other loud print shirts…in a word, don’t.
Research shows what you wear affects how you interview for a job opportunity:
We’ve written how the pose you strike affects your sense of your own power. The same applies to the clothing you chose to wear.
One major study shows people who were given lab coats to wear found it easier to concentrate longer than those given painter’s white coats to wear.
A large study from North Illinois University found when people wore professional clothes they felt more sure of their own competence, reliability, and trustworthiness than when they wore sweats or super casual clothing.
The take-away is that you act and think differently when interviewing in clothes that you feel are more professional than your everyday t-shirt with a goofy slogan.
It’s human nature to make snap judgements in 3 seconds:
Studies show we instinctually, unconsciously, make snap impressions of people in three seconds, or less.
In just one example, a major research study asked participants to instantly score hundreds of pictures of people whom they were told worked in management.
All the pictures of women and men who were not appropriately dressed for business (clothes were wrinkled, too many open buttons on shirts, skirts or pants fitted too tight and/or too short ) scored low on confidence, trustworthiness, responsibility, authority, success, and earnings.
At The Bagg Group, we feel the heat too — and so do interviewers at the best companies in Canada
All recruiters at Staffing Services by Garda World —Bagg Professsional, Bagg Technology Resources,, Bagg Managed Resources and Turn Key Staffing — can offer this small consolation for having to sweat it out in professional clothes. We have to walk the talk too.
We work with the best companies in the GTA and across Canada to place talented people in full-time, contract and temporary positions. We have to represent our candidates well. Take a look at our job opportunities here. Even on casual Fridays at the office, we go informal, but we don’t dress as if it’s a day at the beach.
Our final word of encouragement: You were probably a lot more uncomfortable on the way to the interview than the candidate sitting next to you in shorts and Birkenstocks — but we can assure you that for hiring managers, you’re the cool candidate in the room.
Gene Hayden, author of The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done (Random House), is a career coach who has helped hundreds successfully put their best foot forward at interviews and in the workplace. She is also writer-in-residence for The Bagg Group.