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Do job candidates really need formal attire for an interview?

1 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Small Business — tracks feedback from small-business owners. We run the poll question each Thursday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: What is your business’ dress code?

  • Business casual: 51.82%
  • Casual: 32.27%
  • We don’t have a policy; anything goes: 9.55%
  • Business formal: 6.36%

It’s interesting to see that the vast majority of SmartBrief on Small Business readers’ dress code leans toward casual attire. Then I read articles that emphasize the importance of formal business attire at interviews. It’s totally confusing. A company’s dress code should reflect its business. If your employees need to wear formal business attire because of clients they meet, then, by all means, your policy should reflect such.

If your business can operate with more casual attire, it only makes sense to do so. Buying and maintaining a formal work wardrobe can become expensive. And there’s nothing wrong with sharing your dress code with applicants so they come to an interview in proper attire for your corporate culture.

Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group.