I've worn suits on previous interviews for the job talk day, but I have to admit that I never quite feel like myself in one. What are thoughts on wearing dress pants and a nice blouse or sweater? Is it better to wear a suit that doesn't quite feel right or wear something you feel more comfortable in, but may not be quite as professional as a sharp suit?
Date: 05 Jan 2015 22:54
Number of posts: 16
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I always go suit. If you really don't feel good in one, I think it's totally fine to wear something different the second day. Just my two cents.
Academia is a strange gig. In corporate world, you'd wear a suit always. In academia - 75% of the people you're talking to would never put on a suit. And I don't think they really care if you have one or or not - you can't have jeans, but if you're dressed appropriately, then it's fine. So I say wear what you're comfortable in . For women, that could actually be a nice dress, tights, heels. Or it could be dress pants, sweater ,shoes.
I think it's funny in that ohmyreally is right, most people don't wear suits day-to-day in academia and even might make jokes about how silly it is to wear a suit. However, not wearing suit is going to stick out… people may wonder why you didn't wear one? It's silly, but why not just wear the stupid suit?
True Anonat….but I think you should wear what is most formal and what you're most comfortable in. If you wear a suit and you're so freaking stiff and uncomfortable - that's going to 'stick out' more then if you wore some khakis, shirt, tie and blazer. I've been through 5 searches and not once did a faculty member say 'hmmm, why didn't they wear a suit?"
I've had four on-campus interviews over two job hunt cycles, and four offers from them. I was the first choice candidate in 3 of the 4 places. I never once wore a suit, because I don't have one. I'm really not that stylish at all. I wore dresses on two of the interviews and I think pants and sweaters on the other two (those were a few years ago). So, from my experience at least, attire really doesn't matter. You just have to look like you care and not weird. I think that if you're a man it looks very nice to wear a suit but a woman can wear anything somewhat nice and be fine. I think it would be worse if you feel off and then that comes out in other ways, or you are fiddling with your outfit because it's uncomfortable.
(Oh and FWIW most of my apps never turned into anything, and I also had a bunch of phone interviews that didn't go anywhere. I'm no superstar!)
ohmyreally—I doubt anyone would say it, but we are psychologists here. People are influenced by all kinds of things that they do not consciously vocalize.
We had a male candidate who did not wear a suit to the interview. It was definitely discussed. We worried that he was not serious enough about the interview. I suspect a female candidate who was underdressed would have been similarly noticed. If it's not a suit, it should be a business casual dress or skirt & jacket.
I'm on the market this cycle. I have two on-campus interviews coming up. I've had one already, for which I received the offer. To the first, I wore a fitted but not tight business dress in a bright hue, with a conservative sweater with unique detailing that fits my personality. I also wore flats. I did not wear a suit and I had success. I plan on doing something similar for my next two interviews, as it is what I feel most comfortable in compared to a suit. I'm not saying all this to imply that every university would love it, but I looked professional in something that was business but still stylistic and comfortable for me, and it worked.