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  #1  
Old 09-20-2007, 02:35 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Job interview for internal transfer--how the heck should I dress?

I'm in the running for a transfer within the IT department where I'm currenlty employed, and I'm told I'm a strong contender. The interviews will be on Tuesday, but I can't for the life of me decide how I should dress for this thing. We're a typical L.A. casual company, where most of the guys wear Dockers type pants Monday through Thursday, then Friday is completely casual and almost everyone wears jeans.

Usually I wear jean-styled corduroy pants as they seem to fit me better than Dockers. But should I dress up a little for this interview? If so, how do I do that without letting anyone know what I've got going on? My boss does know, but my co-worker does not, and I don't want her to have an inkling of what's happening until and unless I get the transfer. We're in a bitch of a job now, and I feel that by dressing up for the interview I'd be donning festive raiment and angel wings in the hopes of getting out.

What do you think?
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2007, 02:40 PM
Antinor01 Antinor01 is offline
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I always dress for interviews, suit/tie and all that good stuff. I was in a similar situation as you describe the last time I did an internal interview, so I brought things to change into and that way my co-workers didn't see me in the suit.
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2007, 02:56 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Don't dress up. Business casual is the preferred dress code for all interviews now, internal or external - well unless you're interviewing for a VP or CEO position perhaps. I've interviewed people for management and director positions and casual pants and a golf shirt are just fine.
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2007, 03:06 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Well, as it'll be officially fall, I can at least wear a sportjacket.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:08 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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I'd dress carefully, and the upper level of how I dress when coming in normally for work every day. If you don't want your co-worker to know, you could bring in a tie, and only put it on when you go for the interview. But dressing up a bit:
(1) shows you care about the interview and getting the job; and
(2) prevents the possibility of one of the interviewers marking you down for dressing too informally.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2007, 03:12 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antinor01
I always dress for interviews, suit/tie and all that good stuff. I was in a similar situation as you describe the last time I did an internal interview, so I brought things to change into and that way my co-workers didn't see me in the suit.
This would be logistically impossible. My interview is upstairs one level and there's no way I coiuld change in between.
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2007, 03:27 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
Don't dress up. Business casual is the preferred dress code for all interviews now, internal or external - well unless you're interviewing for a VP or CEO position perhaps. I've interviewed people for management and director positions and casual pants and a golf shirt are just fine.
And don't follow this advice. This may be true in some places (like Carp, Canada ) but it is definitely not universally true.
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2007, 03:34 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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So I'll just shoot for upper-end everyday attire. Which for me means wearing a nice jacket instead of the usual pullover.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2007, 03:57 PM
Dangerosa Dangerosa is online now
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Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
So I'll just shoot for upper-end everyday attire. Which for me means wearing a nice jacket instead of the usual pullover.
There is always the "oh, funeral - no no one close to me but one of those things where I should go" excuse if anyone says anything about looking particularly spiffy.

(My last internal interview was a phone interview. I can't remember if I dressed up. I'd never met my boss until I flew out after I was hired.)
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2007, 04:10 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necros
And don't follow this advice. This may be true in some places (like Carp, Canada ) but it is definitely not universally true.
Are you kidding me? I've traveled on business from here to Taiwan, to The Philippines, to the UK, to the U.S. to Malaysia, to.... well, anyway business casual is most definitely the preferred attire: even for interviews. And especially internal interviews.

Last edited by Leaffan; 09-20-2007 at 04:12 PM.. Reason: I think you'd look like a dork wearing a suit for an internal job interview. YMMV
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2007, 04:33 PM
Necros Necros is offline
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No, I agree with you about a suit for internal interviews. I think SofP's approach is fine.

For external interviews, there is no way I would walk into one in a golf shirt and khakis, and I don't think I'd take someone who did seriously. FTR, I've done about 12-15 external interviews of people applying with my company in the last 6 weeks or so, and no one dressed in business casual, even though that is the dress code for the company.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2007, 04:35 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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If the interview is with someone who sees you around the office on a regular basis, I think it would be weird for you to show up wearing a suit on interview day. But then, I'm not a manager, so I can't really tell you how a manager brain works.
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  #13  
Old 09-20-2007, 04:38 PM
Antinor01 Antinor01 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray
If the interview is with someone who sees you around the office on a regular basis, I think it would be weird for you to show up wearing a suit on interview day. But then, I'm not a manager, so I can't really tell you how a manager brain works.
My last interview was with a manager I already worked for, but it was just a higher level position. She told me she appreciated that I dressed up for it and she felt it showed that I took the matter seriously. YM+M(mileage and manger)MV
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2007, 05:12 PM
Quartz Quartz is offline
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If you're up for a modicum of subterfuge, dress up on Monday and Wednesday as well. If she comments, make an excuse about the weekend wash.
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  #15  
Old 09-20-2007, 05:22 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
Are you kidding me? I've traveled on business from here to Taiwan, to The Philippines, to the UK, to the U.S. to Malaysia, to.... well, anyway business casual is most definitely the preferred attire: even for interviews. And especially internal interviews.
Chiming in to say HUH? I'm not at any kind of high-powered corporate place or anything, but business casual for an external interview? Nah. And we're pretty darn casual up here. I'm not saying I'd wear a banker's conservative suit, but I would dress a lot differently from how I do for work. Skirt or dressy trrousers with a coat or at least a very nice twinset.

I made the mistake of going to see The Nanny Diaries and she goes to interview at Goldman Sachs in a suit with untucked shirt, anklet socks and flat shoes. It was very unsettling to watch.
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  #16  
Old 09-21-2007, 06:41 AM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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I've interviewed twice for internal positions and both times I dressed "up." If you were coming in from the outside, you'd dress up. Just because the guy interviewing you has bumped into you in the break room doesn't mean you shouldn't dress for the occasion.
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  #17  
Old 09-21-2007, 06:52 AM
sandra_nz sandra_nz is offline
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Another vote for dressing up. Maybe not full suit and tie but definitely smarter than your everyday wear.

Your co-worker may not even notice or, if they do, I'm sure you can up with some 'immediately after work' activity that would require a higher standard of dress.
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  #18  
Old 09-21-2007, 07:54 AM
VanillaGorilla VanillaGorilla is offline
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I think, that as a rule, you should wear the same kind of clothes to the interview as you would to the job for which you are applying. (assuming, of course that you wouldn't wear any sort of special protection clothing or something to work).
So, if you would wear a tie to the job if you get it, then wear a tie to the interview, etc.
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  #19  
Old 09-21-2007, 08:02 AM
gigi gigi is offline
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I wear khakis, tailored tee shirt and Birks to work. No way would I wear that on an interview for an equivalent job. Dressing up shows respect for the process.

Last edited by gigi; 09-21-2007 at 08:03 AM..
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  #20  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:14 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Tailored T-shirt? A what now?
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  #21  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:26 AM
cowgirl cowgirl is offline
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This happened all the time when I worked in the government. People normally dress business-casual (which as I understand it, is WAY more casual than it is in the private sector) but they dress up (suit and tie, heels and hose, etc) for interviews, internal or external.

And there were constantly internal interviews. If your job goes from contract to permanent you have to apply again. People are always moving from one section to another. All of these required interviews, and all resulted in the interviewee quite obviously branding themselves as such.

I found it all a bit bizarre. It was literally at the point that wearing a suit was a reliable and incontrovertible signal that you have an interview. This leads to inevitable gossip ("you're leaving the branch? Why, is it because you don't like us?" "Did you get a better offer? Why didn't I get that offer?" "OMG if you're interviewing for THAT job it means Lisa who's currently in that position is leaving! where's she going?" "If you're leaving I wonder who's going to get your position?" "Hey, your contract position is going permanent? I wonder why MY contract position isn't going permanent ..." "Ooh, how much more money will you be making?" And so on, ad nauseum.)

Wardrobe-based gossip. I hate it. I always changed into my suit in the washroom on another floor.
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  #22  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:31 AM
DudleyGarrett DudleyGarrett is offline
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Why not ask HR?
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  #23  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:40 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DudleyGarrett
Why not ask HR?
Seconded. I had to go for an interview straight from my other job, which was very casual indeed. I called the new HR dept. and explained the situation, and they primed the manager - I got the job. Other times (when leaving my most recent job) I went to the interview in a suit, then changed back into my sloppy clothes in a gas station toilet. Gross.
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  #24  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:42 AM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Actually my current boss chimed in with the recommendation that I dress up a bit, so I'll go along with that. Just gabardine slacks and a dress shirt, no tie. I can always say I have to go to a dinner and speech from my wife's business association.
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  #25  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:47 AM
DianaG DianaG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
Are you kidding me? I've traveled on business from here to Taiwan, to The Philippines, to the UK, to the U.S. to Malaysia, to.... well, anyway business casual is most definitely the preferred attire: even for interviews. And especially internal interviews.
You haven't been to Boston, I guess. No one I know would DREAM of showing up at an interview for a white collar job in anything less than a suit.
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  #26  
Old 09-21-2007, 11:35 AM
Stonebow Stonebow is offline
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Originally Posted by Etumretniw
I think, that as a rule, you should wear the same kind of clothes to the interview as you would to the job for which you are applying.
I've always understood the general rule to be dressing up 1 level above what your daily wardrobe would be (casual > business casual> shirt and tie> jacket and tie> suit). And when in doubt, suit and tie, or the closest you've got.
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  #27  
Old 09-21-2007, 12:58 PM
KidScruffy KidScruffy is offline
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Originally Posted by Stonebow
I've always understood the general rule to be dressing up 1 level above what your daily wardrobe would be (casual > business casual> shirt and tie> jacket and tie> suit). And when in doubt, suit and tie, or the closest you've got.
I'm reminded of one time I interviewed for a software company, and I had no idea what the dress code might be. I wore a tie to the interview on a friday, and noticed everyone around me in shorts, sandals, and t-shirts, but I just figured it was casual day, and they were dressing down. I got the job and started on a monday, and wore business casual (I figured I could lose the tie) aaaannnnddd....everyone was still wearing shorts and t-shirts.
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  #28  
Old 09-21-2007, 02:40 PM
gigi gigi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray
Tailored T-shirt? A what now?
like this Basic idea of a t-shirt, but more shaped and refined.
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  #29  
Old 09-21-2007, 07:44 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KidScruffy
I'm reminded of one time I interviewed for a software company, and I had no idea what the dress code might be. I wore a tie to the interview on a friday, and noticed everyone around me in shorts, sandals, and t-shirts, but I just figured it was casual day, and they were dressing down. I got the job and started on a monday, and wore business casual (I figured I could lose the tie) aaaannnnddd....everyone was still wearing shorts and t-shirts.
Sometimes the boss dresses for an interview too. I interviewed for a programming job at a company that was semi business-casual during the week then fully casual on Fridays, and my future manager mentioned it was casual Friday but he wore a tie because he had an interview. It actually took a few minutes for it to register that he meant the interview with me; it didn't occur to me that the employer would try to dress up for the sake of the candidate.
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  #30  
Old 09-21-2007, 08:25 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
Sometimes the boss dresses for an interview too. I interviewed for a programming job at a company that was semi business-casual during the week then fully casual on Fridays, and my future manager mentioned it was casual Friday but he wore a tie because he had an interview. It actually took a few minutes for it to register that he meant the interview with me; it didn't occur to me that the employer would try to dress up for the sake of the candidate.
I'll second that. We're interviewing outside the company right now for a job in my department. Not only has every single candidate come in wearing business attire, but every time my boss has an interview scheduled she comes in dressed up.

I think she expects the candidates to dress up (we're a buisiness casual environment) and she wants to make sure they don't feel they overdressed.
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Old 09-21-2007, 08:56 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou
I think she expects the candidates to dress up (we're a buisiness casual environment) and she wants to make sure they don't feel they overdressed.
I think if I was in that position, I would tell the candidates, "When you come in, please dress casually. Don't wear suits and ties."
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  #32  
Old 09-21-2007, 09:00 PM
OneCentStamp OneCentStamp is offline
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Huh. I haven't worn a suit to an interview in years and I've been offered...(thinks, counts)...six of the last seven positions I've interviewed for, so it can't be too much of a turn-off.

My rule of thumb is to dress one "level" nicer than the everyday attire for that job. For example, if it's a jeans-and-polo shirt job, I throw on some khakis and a button-up shirt (no tie).

Last edited by OneCentStamp; 09-21-2007 at 09:00 PM..
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  #33  
Old 09-22-2007, 10:42 AM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou
I'll second that. We're interviewing outside the company right now for a job in my department. Not only has every single candidate come in wearing business attire, but every time my boss has an interview scheduled she comes in dressed up.
I do that, meaning on casual Fridays, when I normally wear jeans, if I'm helping my boss with an interview, I will dress like I do during the week.

It's also a tip-off to the applicant of the normal expected wardrobe.
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  #34  
Old 09-22-2007, 10:44 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
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I dressed up for an interview and got the job (no clue whether that had any influence on the decision). It can't hurt!
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  #35  
Old 09-22-2007, 04:20 PM
TroubleAgain TroubleAgain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
Are you kidding me? I've traveled on business from here to Taiwan, to The Philippines, to the UK, to the U.S. to Malaysia, to.... well, anyway business casual is most definitely the preferred attire: even for interviews. And especially internal interviews.
Nope. It depends on the company. We do business casual (dockers and polo shirts for the guys), and people *still* dress up for internal interviews, just not to the extent of a suit, usually. Nicer slacks and a dress shirt at the least.
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  #36  
Old 09-22-2007, 04:24 PM
TroubleAgain TroubleAgain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antinor01
My last interview was with a manager I already worked for, but it was just a higher level position. She told me she appreciated that I dressed up for it and she felt it showed that I took the matter seriously. YM+M(mileage and manger)MV
That was my experience as well.
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  #37  
Old 09-22-2007, 09:39 PM
Voyager Voyager is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acsenray
I think if I was in that position, I would tell the candidates, "When you come in, please dress casually. Don't wear suits and ties."
I dress every day in khakis and collared shirts, no tie, and when I interviewed externally in Silicon Valley, that is exactly what I wore. Ditto for interviewing internally. I do agree that if your normal dress is shorts and a T-shirt you should upgrade. I've brought lots of people in, and none of them dressed up, and we had mass internal interviews, and none of them dressed up. Someone coming from college and dressing up we understand, but if you've been in the Valley any length of time and interview for a technical job in a suit, you'd be considered a bit odd. I think ability would still win out over being over-dressed, though.

Anyone moving internally should be assumed to know the culture already. Bankers and lawyers no doubt need suits or jackets. IT people? Not hardly.
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  #38  
Old 09-22-2007, 09:43 PM
ivylass ivylass is offline
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It's all about the first impression...are you going to take the care to dress nicely for the occasion? My son wore a suit to an interview at Steak 'n Shake, and the manager called us later to tell us how impressed she was that he would take the effort to dress for what was basically a diner position, and that she regretted that since he was leaving for college in three months, she would be unable to hire him. She said many applicants came in wearing jeans and flip flops.

Stand out from the crowd...dress to impress.
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  #39  
Old 09-23-2007, 01:12 AM
Caractacus Pott Caractacus Pott is offline
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Just a quick note on dressing up surreptitiously: don't be sneaky. Wear the suit or sport coat proudly to work with no apologies. Explain that you forgot to wash clothes and this is all you have clean. I worked with a programmer, who, about every 3 weeks, would come to work in a suit and tie instead of the usual jeans and T-shirt. He used that excuse. In his case, there was no doubt. He, along with the rest of us, was working 80+ hour weeks. As long as you don't have a nose like Pinocchio, you shouldn't have any problems.
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  #40  
Old 09-23-2007, 07:00 AM
China Guy China Guy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan
Are you kidding me? I've traveled on business from here to Taiwan, to The Philippines, to the UK, to the U.S. to Malaysia, to.... well, anyway business casual is most definitely the preferred attire: even for interviews. And especially internal interviews.
I guess it depends on your industry. However, in Asia, people dress a lot more formally than in the US. In the hotter parts of Asia, standard business wear is suit pants and button down short sleeve shirt with a tie. That said, all the formal meetings and interviews I've ever attended in Asia was suit driven. I would never dream of wearing anything but a suit to the first formal business meeting, and it goes without saying to a job interview.

For internal, ask HR, your boss or even better one of the interviewers.
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  #41  
Old 09-23-2007, 06:21 PM
glee glee is offline
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Originally Posted by Leaffan
Are you kidding me? I've traveled on business from here to Taiwan, to The Philippines, to the UK, to the U.S. to Malaysia, to.... well, anyway business casual is most definitely the preferred attire: even for interviews. And especially internal interviews.
Are you kidding me?
Having interviewed in the UK for employers including the Civil Service (various departments), British Telecom, British Airways, Harrods, Universities, Technical Colleges, State and Private Schools and the English Chess Federation, I can assure you that every single one expected me to wear a suit. (Every other applicant wore a suit.)
I have asked HR departments plus a friend who heads a personnel department for a major City firm for advice. they all say "Turn up early, wear a suit, learn something about the company, speak up for yourself."
As for internal interviews, I remember when a programmer turned up for one at BT wearing a sweater. The panel gave him such a hard time that when he left, he opened the wrong door and stepped into a broom cupboard.
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