It's OCI season and you've gone over the first hurdle -- submitting your resume. Now that you have your interviews scheduled, the next big question is: what to wear?
Remember in high school, how the smartest teachers would always be really hard on you at the beginning of the year, then ease up as you gained their trust? Well, professional dressing is just like that. You need to be very conservative in the beginning and then once you have the job, you can think about matching the firm culture with what you wear.
So, read on for some easy tips on appropriate law firm interview dressing. Here's a hint: you can pretty much ignore everything you read in fashion magazines.
1. Suited and Booted
You must wear a suit to a law firm interview -- period. For women, black, navy or grey will work, while men should stick to navy or grey. Women should wear a skirt suit (or sheath dress suit); you need to wait until you have the job to break out the pant suit. As far as shirts, keep it simple -- white or light blue, save the colors for another day.
Guys, here's a great guide on buying a suit courtesy of Brooks Brothers.
Gals, we know it's 2013 but you need to wear hose to the interview. Sorry, we didn't make the rules. Oh, and please don't bring sexy back -- nothing tight, or revealing.
2. Get It Tailored
What matters most in a suit is fit, not the cost. Make sure your suit is tailored -- that means you too, ladies. For men, make sure trousers are the right length (go for a medium break -- the choice of most executives). For ladies, your skirt or dress should fall to the knee. For both men and women, make sure your jacket falls at the right place on your shoulders and at the wrists. And you make sure you don't look like a stuffed sausage when your jacket is buttoned.
3. Accessories Make the Man or Woman
Get a nice, simple pair of black shoes. Men, please make sure your shoes are not scuffed. Save your crazy printed ties for another day; opt for a classic color in a classic pattern (preppy stripes are a personal favorite). If you wear an earring, take it out.
Ladies, opt for a sensible heel, no open toes, crazy straps, etc. This is not the time to show off your shoe collection, just go with a plain black pump. Try to keep jewelry to a minimum, and certainly nothing loud like jangly bangles. If you wear earrings, a simple post will do -- definitely no hoops or danglers.
You can have the nicest clothes and accessories, but the most important thing you can do is be well groomed. Guys, please comb your hair and shave. If you have a beard or mustache makes sure it's clean and trimmed. Don't forget to clean under your nails.
Ladies, an interview is not the time to break out your Kardashian waves. Keep your hair simple and neat. Clean your nails, and, if you wear polish, opt for something neutral and make sure that mani is fresh -- no chips, please. Keep makeup understated -- no smokey eyes and red lips.
For both men and women, skip the fragrance, or keep it really subtle.
5. Test Drive
Once you've figured out what you're going to wear, try it all on and sit down. Is your skirt revealing too much when you sit? Are you comfortable?
Guys, don't forget to unbutton your jacket when you sit. And ladies, remember to cross your legs at the ankles, not the knees.
This may seem like we are too focused on clothes -- but here's the thing -- if you are groomed and appropriate, the interviewer will not have to focus on what you look like. They will forget about it, and then concentrate on what you have to say.
Now that you look the part, you're halfway there. Stay tuned for our next post on tips for having a great interview.