Weekly Topic: What to Wear to a PR Job Interview

The time has come and you’re about to graduate or are thinking of changing positions to find a job in public relations. In either position you are either new to the professional job interviews or are experienced but have been out of the loop and may not know what to expect in this area of work when it comes to attire. Being a student about to graduate, I did not know all of the rules for proper attire. I had a pretty good idea, but wanted to do a little research and check up on what other professionals were saying about dressing for an interview.

The general attire rules are listed below: Thanks to Alison Doyle, and her article, Dressing for Success: How to dress for an InterviewWomen’s Interview Attire
Solid color, conservative suit
Coordinated blouse
Moderate shoes
Limited jewelry
Neat, professional hairstyle
Tan or light hosiery
Sparse make-up & perfume
Manicured nails
Portfolio or briefcase

Men’s Interview Attire
Solid color, conservative suit
White long sleeve shirt
Conservative tie
Dark socks, professional shoes
Very limited jewelry
Neat, professional hairstyle
Go easy on the aftershave
Neatly trimmed nails
Portfolio or briefcase

Being a woman, gives you a few more options in dress, than men. This could come as a relief to you if you are a female, or for some a headache. It seems like the more options we have the more we worry. I have found an article by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., put together an interesting post relating to this exact topic. It can be found at www.quintcareers.com. Dr. Hansen is a professor and writes about the option for females to wear a pantsuit compared to a skirtsuit to an interview. I found it interesting that she suggests wearing the traditional dress or skirtsuit. “Whenever I want to watch my students’ jaws drop down to their desks, all I have to do is tell them that the “safest” attire for women to wear on a job interview is a skirted suit and that pantsuits while almost universally acceptable in the workplace are still somewhat risky attire for interviewing.”

I would have to admit that I am more comfortable wearing a skirtsuit, and feel that it fits my personality better than pants, but at the same time I would have thought that in this generation, it was perfectly acceptable for a female to wear pants to an interview.

She also writes, “One study, albeit with a limited number of respondents, indicated that 25 percent of employers would think twice about hiring a woman who wore a pantsuit to a first interview.” In my opinion, if this sort of simple fix of wearing a skirt on an interview will give you a higher chance of getting a position, WEAR THE SKIRTEDSUIT! I personally am not willing to take that sort of risk.

For my last source of research I went to two of my favorite people, that appear on TV’s popular fashion show, “What Not to Wear.” Stacey and Clinton, put together a short video for those with the same question we’ve been discussing. Although, in the video they do not put together a skirtsuit, they do show the value of purchasing a good pantsuit and the different ways you can change-up that suit to get maximum use out of it.

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