Dressing for internal interview

I applied for a different job within my company and I have an interview Friday. Wondering how I should dress. The normal rule is one level above what’s required for the job so following that I’d wear at least a tie and possibly a jacket. But since this is internal it seems kind of silly to dress up, even a tie. On the one hand I suppose doing so shows respect for the process. But OTOH these people see me frequently and know what I look like and how I dress for work, so I’m thinking dressing up may engender a “who is he trying to impress (or kid) with that?” reaction.

If you’re interested in the job, you need to look the part. Call it putting on your game face and cinch up the choker.

I think I’d go with the nicest clothes you normally feel comfortable wearing to work. Make sure collar is pressed, pants ironed, etc, but if you see these people all the time, they might actually find it odd if you overdressed. If your dress code includes jeans and khakis, for example, go with the khakis. I don’t know anyone in my company who would dress up for an internal interview.

I’m with DA on this. Dress as well as you can get away with without looking “overdressed”.

Another vote for wear the best outfit that you normally would wear to work.


I would definitely dress up. Will anyone else be interviewing for the position? (For example, external applicants?) Will other interviewees be wearing a suit? If so, I would also wear one. If you’re not comfortable in a suit or it really would be over-dressing, I’d go with tie and jacket. Don’t just wear the best outfit you’d normally wear to work. Dress better. Even though this is an internal interview, you’re still trying to create an impression, and dress will play a part of that. I think dressing up will show your interviewers that you are serious, not that you’re trying to “fool” them.

I recently went through the hiring process for an open position in my department. All of our applicants were internal. All of them dressed up a notch from the dressiest they would normally dress for work. I thought it showed that they were taking the opportunity seriously. (Of course, it also gave me the opportunity to tease some of them unmercifully outside of the interview setting, since they showed up for work dressed as usual and then added tie and jacket just before their interview…).

If there are external applicants, I’d definitely dress like an external. Even if there aren’t any external candidates, I would dress up a bit more than normal.


I recently interviewed for a job that was not only in the same company but in the same department as I already worked in. I knew all the other candidates were internal. I basically dressed up one level over what I would have been wearing if I had gotten the position (which I didn’t).

I don’t think dressing up more would have made the difference though.

I recently interviewed a lot of people for internal positions, and none wore anything different from what they would normally wear. When I interviewed for a job change a year and a half ago I didn’t even think of wearing anything special.

I’d wander over to that department, see what people are wearing, and wear something at the high end of that. Dress so you could sit right down in the middle of the group and fit in.

Dress up.

I normally wear slacks or dresses with casual shoes or mules. When I had my internal interview I put on the pantyhose, high heels, and silk dress.

If they’re interviewing outside the company, those applicants will dress their best. Why shouldn’t you?

How about nicely creased khakis and blue blazer, sans tie? Ascot optional. :wink:

It’s hard to wrong with jacket and tie for almost any job not involving grease under the fingernails.

Even if it goes against the culture of your company, which you’d be expected to know being a part of it? Or the culture of your industry? In Silicon Valley you interview by popping over to the next parking lot. When I interviewed for my current job, I wore my normal engineer clothes (khakis) and it was not a problem. Now, if you are interviewing in a bank or law office, it’s a different story and a different culture.

So you see, Otto, the answer is simple. Dress up. Or don’t. Obviously you can ask for this thread to be closed since you got an answer to your question. :wink:

Dressing for internal interview

It is considered traditional, yes. Though some candidates claimed they fared better without.

Seriously: if there’s external candidates, I’d dress to their level, and make a joke that those are your lucky clothes if you feel you need the excuse :slight_smile: Other options. Ask someone :slight_smile: Consider how the people will consider you: will it be a shoe-in, or will they be really evaluating? Will anyone think it’s overdressed?

If there are external candidates and they will be wearing interview suits, you must wear a suit - you’ll be compared with them, not just with your co-workers. If the interview is with people you don’t work with all the time - the director, say, or the head of another department, or whatever - strongly consider a suit or at least a jacket and tie. Denotes seriousness of intent. If it really is with people you see every day and there are no external candidates, I’d go a step nicer than the best you’d wear at work.

Personally, soon I’ll be interviewing for a position in my workplace, but in a different department. I’ll probably know the people well enough to nod at them in the ladies’ room. I’ll be wearing my interview suit, partly because I don’t know them well, partly because there will be external candidates, partly because That’s What You Wear To An Interview, and partly because I look extremely fine in my interview suit. Smashing, even.

They’ll be evaluating - unless you’re such hot stuff that they’ve recruited you to the limit of what is internally permissible.

Actually, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Unless you are in a really big company, where people don’t know each other well, what your boss says about you will be far more important than what you wear. Recommendations from bosses for external candidates are a thing of the past, due to fear of lawsuits, but not so for internal ones. In my experience internal bosses are reasonably honest, though they may be subtle about problems.

It would depend if I had ever met / interacted with the group I am being interviewed to join. If I had interacted with them before, and there were no problems, I would dress as I usually dress for work. If the new group have more interaction with customers, I would dress better, if they have less interaction with customers I would try and dress as members of the group dress. This is all assuming that the move within the same company is such that the new position can find out whatever they want about me from my existing management. In such cases the interview is more about getting to meet new people, and showing them you can fit in with them, than impressing the people as you would want to do for an external interview. If there is no communication between your existing group and the new group, I would treat it just like an interview with a different company for a new job.

OK, after considering everyone’s advice I decided to follow the lead of ivylass and wore a silk dress, panty hose and heels.

No, I wore the same outfit I wore to the interview for my current job, minus the tie. I think the interview went well. It was one of those “behavioural interviews” that HR people have been gaga about for the last few years. “Tell me about a situation in which you communicated a difficult concept.” “Tell me about a situation in which you were faced with a problem and resolved it.” And so on. There are 20-25 positions available and there were 408 applicants. Eep. I was talking with my current boss about it after and she said “oh don’t worry about that, they won’t interview any more than 250.” I felt so much better after hearing that. Sheesh. I only have to beat out 230 or so, assuming they willing to offer me 1st shift because I won’t work 2nd shift (4:00PM-11:30PM, no thank you).

In my favor I’m already an employee so I have a leg up on the external applicants, and my current boss loves me and she and the interviewer are buddy-buddy so I know I’ll get a glowing reference that will be given favorable reception.

The next step is for them to complete the interviews, then the two interviewers will sift through everyone and present candidates to the boss of the new job. It’s unclear whether there’s a second interview or if the new boss hires just off HR’s recommendation. I should hear by the end of the month either way.

Pictures please! Was it a red silk dress with gold buttons and a gold belt?

(reads rest of thread)

Oh. Well, shoot. Couldn’t you have worn the fairy wings, at least? :wink:

Good luck! I hope you hear soon.