Ask The Pros: What Do I Wear to My Interview?

As the 2012 graduating class makes their way out into the real world, we're starting up this new Ask the Pros series to help answer some of your most frequently asked questions about interviewing, job-hunting and working in the world of magazine art and photo departments!

Got a question you want answered? Send it to us at spdstudentoutreach@gmail.com and we'll put it to our experts! Each time a panel of 5-8 professionals will give you their take, and then it's up to you to put their advice to work.

To start us off, we're tackling the seemingly-easy but oh-so-tricky question of how to dress for an interview. Click through for our panel's advice...

QUESTION:
What Do I Wear to My Interview?

PRO: David Speranza - Design Director, Bicycling
Dress respectfully. This doesn't necessarily mean a business suit, that may depend on where the interview takes place. But definitely make it look like the meeting means something to you.  

PRO: Ronda Thompson - freelance iPad designer
How I dress for an interview sometimes depends on the type of company I'm interviewing with. Typically, I like to go with a dress-casual type of feel, but let's say the interview is with Dow Jones or News Corp... because I know those companies are pretty conservative, I would step it up a bit more. But let's say the interview is with Details or HBO or even a design firm: because these companies are a lot more creative-based and less conservative, I would go with my trusty dressy-casual. It's important to present yourself in the most positive light as possible, and in addition to having a strong portfolio and being well spoken, taking care in how you dress for an interview speaks volumes.

PRO: Isabel Abdai - Art Director, Woman's Day  
I think it really depends on where you're interviewing, and who you're interviewing with, but in general, I would say smart casual. Most art department work environments are quite casual, and while you don't want to be wearing jeans, you'd look out of place if you wore a suit.

PRO: Anthony Clarke - freelance tablet designer
Make sure you look put together. Slacks and khakis are so '90s. As a creative you should be stylish but not sloppy. Nice pair of jeans, some casual shoes, a button-up, and cool blazer will do the trick. Remember you're not going to the prom. Also grooming, a nice haircut will do the trick.

PRO: Michael Novak - Art Director, Portland Monthly
I always think you should dress up for interviews, but not to the point of losing your personality. A lot of people (particularly men) don't know how to dress up with a little style. You don't want to wear your standard off-the-rack boring outfit if you're interviewing for a creative position. Alternatively, you don't want to show up with a mohawk and day-glo pants (unless that's really appropriate to the company your applying to)!

PRO: Caitlin Choi - freelance art director
Wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable. I would do a little research about the company and understand the culture you'll be working in, i.e. if you're applying at a funky little startup doing web design, you probably can dress more creatively than going to a more traditional company.


Have a question you'd like answered? Send it to us at spdstudentoutreach@gmail.com.
  • Neil Jamieson

    "stylish but not sloppy" words to live by indeed! Great advice and I totally agree with David's point about respect, that's the key. Great post!

  • Travis Bonilla

    I agree with all these answers. Being a recent graduate myself wether interviewing for an internship or a job I always tried to look as presentable as possible to make a good first impression.

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