Don’t Buy a Suit For an Interview

by Sharlyn Lauby on June 14, 2011

Wait, what?? A recent article posted on suggested that job seekers wear suits to interviews as a means to stand out in the crowd.  You can read the article here.

I totally agree that job candidates should look clean and neat.  And they should dress in concert with the position they’re applying for.  If you’re applying to be a manager in a business office where everyone wears a suit, then yep, you should wear a suit to the interview.

Where I struggle with the piece is the suggestion that candidates should wear a suit “no matter what the prospective position.”  One person is business suit, dress, interview, recruitingquoted as saying you should wear a suit to interview with a fast food chain.  Really??  The article goes on to mention that the average cost of a suit is $500.

If you have a suit around the house, by all means – wear it.  If you have a friend or cousin that will let you borrow their suit while you’re job hunting – go for it.  But I honestly can’t in good conscience tell someone to spend $500 on a suit they might wear a handful of times.  Unless they have $500 just sitting around burning a hole in their pocket.

Two examples:  First, a theme park is opening here in Florida and hiring 800 positions, some are seasonal.  Starting pay is $7.75/hour.  A person would have to work 65 hours to pay for that $500 suit they purchased to get the job.  Or what about the company hiring 100 at-home workers.  Starting pay in the $9-10 range.  A person would have to work 50 hours to pay for the suit that they purchased to get a job working from home.


It’s difficult enough to find a job in today’s market.  Let’s not add to the burden by telling people to wear clothes they might never wear again just to get a job.  If a candidate is applying for a job where they will wear a uniform, they should wear neat, clean, pressed attire to the interview.  And, hiring managers should evaluate attire based upon that criteria:

Would this candidate come to work looking neat and clean?

Would they take good care of the uniform the company provides?

Let me know your thoughts on this.  Should candidates wear suits to interviews no matter what?  Or should the type of work be taken into consideration?

Image courtesy of laverrue

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