Temporary or contract jobs often feel like they fall into a professional “gray area.” You want to look competent and trustworthy, but you’re interviewing for a position that may last only a few months. What should you wear?
Here’s our “quick start” guide on how to dress for a temp interview.
Take your cues from people who do the job long term.
If you’re interviewing for a position installing a new software package, examine how other software engineers and developers dress for interviews in your industry. If you’re tackling a seasonal position, consider how staff members for that position dress when they work year-round.
Find out how people at the company dress.
Appearing as if you fit in with the rest of the company helps hiring managers see you as “one of the team”—which can help your chances of being offered a long-term position at the end of your temporary tenure. Company websites, blogs and LinkedIn pages can help you determine how staff members tend to dress and to coordinate your own interview outfit to suit.
Always think clean, neat and conservative.
Double- and triple-check your interview clothes to make sure they are clean and free of wrinkles, stains and loose threads. Your interview outfit should fit your body well and cover a more, rather than less. Keep fingernails and hair clean and trimmed. Accessories (including jewelry and makeup) should be simple.
If nothing in your wardrobe suits the purpose, it’s time to go shopping. Good interview clothing doesn’t need to be expensive. Even gently used pieces from a secondhand store will do, as long as they are clean and fit well.
When in doubt, overdress.
If you’re not sure what to wear, err on the side of dressing too formally. For instance, if you cannot choose between khakis and a polo shirt, or trousers, a button-down and a tie, choose the latter. Overdressing indicates you decided to err on the side of taking the position—and yourself—seriously; underdressing indicates the opposite.
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