creative marketing agency interview dress code?

It seems like a silly question, but for a creative position with a marketing agency, what would you wear to the interview? I was thinking a casual dress shirt and a pair of dress pants? Is that about right…it’s been a while and a suit seems way too formal.

A suit and tie isn’t too formal for an interview unless you’re applying for a job at McDonald’s or Home Depot.

I’d still wear a suit, I’d only make an exception if a reliable source (ex: the person interviewing you or who got you the interview) tells you otherwise.

The part of the country might matter here. I think the SW/ California is considerably less dressy than the NE.

I’m thinking you’ll want a dressy hipster look. Depending on the region and culture, this will could involve a suit, a sport jacket, or at least a dress shirt and tie. Being fashion forward will probably matter as much as the right level of formality.

I’m pretty sure casual shirt is too casual, especially if it’s for any kind of job where you might potentially meet with clients.

I agree with Harriet that is important to show some personal style and not be too generic, when interviewing for a creative position. There’s a fine line, obviously, but if you wear baggy pleated khakis and a navy blue polo shirt, you’re almost definitely on the wrong side of it, unless you are good at wearing clothes ironically.

eek so it sounds like a suit with a striped dress shirt or something (maybe no tie) might do the trick heh. I live in New York state (not the city)

Art director here,

They’ll be looking at your creative work, interviewing skills, work experience, and demeanor in addition to your attire and comparing you to other interviewees. Poor showing in any one of those things could be interpreted as a red flag (“If this is what they do on an interview, what can I expect once they’re here…?”) and diminish your standing compared to the others in this tight job market. Err on the side of dressy; and stylish if you can manage it. If you get hired, then you can conform to the existing dress code of the agency.

That said, in my last interview (for the place in which I’m currently employed), I wore blue jeans — but with a stylish patterned shirt and an über-hip sport jacket.

I think it’s a good rule to follow that when wearing a tie you always wear a sportscoat or suit jacket; however, you may wear a coat without a tie. Unless you are an uber-hipster wearing something along the lines of a piano tie, a tie and no coat makes you look like a waiter/bartender.

Or any reasonable technical position in Silicon Valley, where it will mark you as clueless.

What do the people who work in this place wear to work? Some spying at quitting time might be in order here.

Just out of curiosity, are clients of a creative artist expecting the button down shirt look?

I know nothing about that biz, but we are customers of some big CAD companies, and when their experts come to us they don’t wear suits, nor are they expected to. Marketing and sales droids still do, but even some of them are slacking off now.

This is a really hard one to generalize on. **B. Serum **sounds dead on for one acceptable look. The shirt might not be button down, but it would need look “sharp” rather than casual. Maybe it could be a sweater, maybe a dress shirt with no tie, it depends…It would probably be described as “casual” by a bunch of bankers, but it’s not the same kind of casual as Home Depot, or even Silicon Valley coder.

The people who “get” this kind of dress “get” creative marketing culture. Or at least the people who hire for this type of job tend to think this is a good indicator. These are people who try to sell stuff, and that includes the people who try to sell us all the ideas that make up fashion. To a certain extent, that means you need to drink the Kool-Aid to work in that environment.

Having done a fair amount of work out in Silicon Valley, I disagree. The HR recruiters there are fully aware of prevailing traditions causing interview candidates to dress in a suit and tie – even if the workforce wears shorts and flip flops. The HR folks and hiring managers do not mark them as clueless for this at all. They care about what’s in their brain.

You need to stay out of this because you’re gonna give ceen284 a complex and make him overthink this. :slight_smile:

haha thanks guys,

I’ve decided, based on the firm seeming a bit more traditional than I am used to, to wear a grey suit with no tie and a dark blue striped dress shirt heh…it looks good…I think.

I’ve done interviews when I was a creative director, and I have to say, those that came in wearing suits kind of put me off. Depending on the caliber of creative you’re doing, most of your peers will be quite urban and fashionable but casual (if not a bit eccentric).

The suit and tie just screams middle management to me, and not much experience in the creative spheres. If not that, than trying to over-impress.

I’m thinking something along these lines would be appropriate, and would speak to how your tastes reflect the way you present yourself.

My husband spent years working for ad agencies. And it was this sort of “hip, casual, yet dressy” look that went over well.

Think metrosexual.

I’m in a firm that does engineering. Metrosexual is NOT the look you want to go for.

A grey suit would be appropriate for either circumstance, but probably not the same grey suit.

I’m thinking Kanye West’s suit style…

I have absolutely no basis for this other than opinion. No cite. No sort of reason you should ever agree with me other than being in the country’s favorite demographic for marketing - I think. I’m a 28 year old white urban male with a graduate education and a decent disposable income.


update: I decided to not wear a suit-a nice winter trench coat that I have that’s fairly modern…with a nice modern dresss shirt and dark pants was perfect…a suit would have been suicide as the style of the office and the people I interviewed with was not that…

I wound up getting a cool freelance opportunity with the potential to be permanent :slight_smile:


Wear a suit and tie to a job interview as a designer here in the UK and you would be laughed out of the building. There’s a reason Project Managers are called ‘The Suits’.