Deciphering what to wear to an interview at a startup might be a little confusing. You need to show that you’re a professional who is taking the opportunity seriously, but you also need to be ready to dodge a ping pong ball or two. Whether you’re interviewing for an internship or an entry-level job, here are a few tips to keep in mind when picking out your outfit.
1. Check the office dress code online
Review the company’s social media channels to get a sense of what the office attire might be. If the company has an office tour video on its site, take a look to see what people in the office are wearing. If there is no video, revert to the company’s social media channels and do some investigating there. Scroll through Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat to get an insider’s perspective on the company dress code. This will help you pick an outfit that complements the company culture and shows off your ability to fit in with the rest of the team.
2. Ask questions
Potential employers want you to excel in the interview, so asking the right questions is crucial to setting yourself up for success. Since startup culture being such a gray area, asking the hiring manager about appropriate attire shows that you’re interested in the role and committed to making a good impression. This simple question will help you avoid any awkward moments and ensure that you start off on the right foot.
3. Wear what suits you
Once you know the dress code, adapt it to fit your style. One of the hallmarks of startup culture is a comfortable workplace and that means dressing in a way that feels true to you. For women, this typically means a nice pair of dark-wash jeans, a button-down shirt or a blouse and nice flats. For men, khakis, a button-down shirt and shoes without scuff marks. It’s okay to be a little more adventurous with your outfit choices than you would be at a corporate interview, but still important to look pulled together.
Pro Tip: Avoid sneakers. Although these might be fine to wear to work once you land the job, showing up in sneakers sends the message that you’re a little too relaxed.
4. Keep it clean
Make sure your outfit is clean and presentable for the interview. Stain-free, wrinkle-free clothes can definitely get you far, so take the extra time to look over your outfit before you leave for your interview. If you’re nervous about your cleaning or ironing skills, don’t be afraid to take your clothes to a dry cleaner. The extra money will be worth it when you get that offer letter.