Mark Denton

Sales Interview: What to wear and how to find out

It’s the easiest and quickest way of blowing an interview before you even speak. And yes, on this occasion it is not as easy as it used to be. In the good old days, suited and booted - job done! Not anymore. You now have to find out the expectation, the expectation - not what they wear, what they expect you to wear when meeting their customers. You’ve got two immediate routes, find pictures or speak to someone in the know.

Pictures! Not just any pictures, HR now says that “workers” feel more respected and work better if they are wearing whatever they like, however they like. You may have heard of companies that follow this mantra, you may know people who work with these organisations, and it is entirely true, and employees appreciate the environment.

“It's the easiest and quickest way of blowing an interview before you even speak. And yes, on this occasion it is not as easy as it used to be. In the good old days, suited and booted - job done! Not anymore. You now have to find out the expectation, the expectation - not what they wear, what they expect you to wear when meeting their customers. You've got two immediate routes, find pictures or speak to someone in the know.“

However when you look up the same company customer facing sales people e.g. on LinkedIn, or the Directors e.g. on their website, their photos are usually very different. These are the ones I’d recommend you follow.

Speak to someone in the know! Ring reception, they know who attends what interviews, what they wear, who gets which jobs. Be specific when asking - find out their name, say who you are, ask for help, say what job you are going for and with which hiring manager. What do their team wear, what do they like people to wear at interview? If you are lucky the receptionist will tell the interviewer you rang and enquired. When you go to the interview, say hello to the receptionist. If it is the same person thank them, if not ask for the thanks to be passed on.

So it is not as straight forward as it was, but hopefully you’ll get to speak before the interviewer has decided “this person is not for us”.

PS: I’ve never got anyone a job based on what they wore, however I’ve had hundreds of people lose the job opportunity because of their choice of attire – avoid anything that would incite an opinion. 

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