I work for a large power company in the Midwest and I am interviewing for another position within the company. It would be a lateral move not a vertical one. Being that I work in the generating stations (where attire is usually jeans, work boots, and a polo shirt) and that my interview is taking place there, what should my attire be for the interview? My first thought is a suit but I am afraid that will be overdressed and would come off brash. Then I thought about khaki’s and a button down shirt with no tie or sport coat. Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

BJ_Marshall's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I'd go for the suit, white shirt, nice red power tie, and shiny black shoes. I would think it means you're serious about this position.

If you end up being perceived as overdressed, then shucks. Unless someone anyone actually tells you "Just come to the interview in your normal clothes," I don't see how you'd be dinged for wearing a suit. No risk there. However, if you end up being perceived as underdressed, because you opted to wear khakis and a polo, then you'll have egg on your face. Big risk there, no reward.

- BJ

ken_wills's picture

jmstahl -

Because this is an internal move, you can easily gain insight about the company's culture and dress expectations  - and use that to your advantage.  It's true that you generally want to err on the conservative side (and when in doubt, all of the advice on the M-T Interview Series is great).

The circumstances you give in your question raises your concern about  a potential disadvantage of being OVERdressed - and that's worth thinking about.


Here's a suggestion: use you "insider" access to look at the dress of people who are a level ABOVE the position you're applying for - and dress like that.


One caveat that's occured to me:  if you learn that they're interviewing a lot of external candidates, and those candidates are likely to be dressed in suits, go with the suit.  You don't want to risk appearing too casual (both literally and figuratively).


Think it through, and do what makes sense.

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Wear a suit. It shows you respect the process and the position of the people you're meeting.

(Even if you do drink beer with them in shorts at the weekend).


JMStahl's picture

Thank you to all of you who commented back.  I have decided to go with the suit for my interview.

Thanks again!


mburns13's picture

 My husband has a second interview for an IT Coordinator position for a smaller school district.  On the job he would be doing anything related to computers, networking, etc., but would also be meeting with the school board and administration.  What should he wear to this second all day interview, where he will be visiting each of the schools, principals, teachers, students and have lunch with the superintendent?


tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Wear a suit. Polished shoes. White or light blue shirt. Conservative tie.

The MT Interview Series covers interview attire in great detail.

altadel's picture
Licensee Badge

Absolutely the suit, white or blue dress shirt, tie, and polished shoes. I'm in IT management, and that is what I would expect to see for an IT Coordinator who is going out for lunch with the top of the organization (the superintendent).

Scott Delinger

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