Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have weighed in on what candidates should be wearing to impress them in a job interview. And while many technology companies have casual workplaces, showing up in your khakis isn’t the way to get a foot in the door. The majority of CIOs surveyed said that candidates should wear a formal business suit to the interview. Jeans are especially frowned upon.

The survey, conducted by Robert Half technology, asked 270 Canadian tech bosses “Which of the following, in your opinion, is the most appropriate interview attire for someone interviewing for an IT job with your company?”

Here’s what they had to say:

  • Formal business suit – 33%
  • Tailored separates (for example, a skirt and blouse) – 29%
  • Khakis and a collared shirt – 29%
  • Jeans and a polo shirt – 7%
  • Something else/don’t know – 1%

“An interview is an IT worker’s chance to make a strong first impression,” said Megan Slabinski, district president of Robert Half Technology in Canada. “Appearing overly casual could lead the hiring manager to believe the candidate does not take the position seriously.”

Slabinski added that doing some research before the job interview can help candidates to better judge what to wear when meeting with a hiring manager. “Candidates should do their homework – if you are working with the firm’s HR representative or a recruiter, take the time to ask about the dress code and what may be deemed appropriate attire for the interview.”

Robert Half Technology also offers some tips for a successful job interview:

  • Wear something comfortable. You want to look relaxed and confident, so don’t choose uncomfortable clothing. If you buy new clothes for the interview, wear them at least once before to break them in.
  • Pay attention to details. Don’t overlook the less obvious aspects of your appearance, like your shoes, socks and accessories. Make sure your outfit is free of wrinkles and stains, your hair and nails are well groomed, and your shoes are polished.
  • Don’t overdo it. You want your experience, skills and personality to stand out at the interview — not your wardrobe. Don’t wear any distracting clothing or jewellery, as well as excessive perfume, cologne or makeup.
  • Turn off your phone. Make sure any mobile device you have with you is off before the meeting.
  • Dress the part for a video interview too. Even if your interview is via Skype, you want to look prepared and professional. Dress appropriately from head to toe and choose a background that is free of distractions.


Peter Harris

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