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It was December 10, 2009. The day I had been dreaming of for years was finally here – the day of my job interview at a prestigious university. Now, there’s a lot more to job interviews then what you wear, obviously. And there’s not much more to say on the topic because Professor Mom is still an expert in the field and she already wrote a top-notch post on it that I’m totally not stealing anything from (no siree).
What to wear to an academic job interview
Academic job interviews are typically conducted in a professional environment and are therefore generally more formal than other types of interviews. It’s important to dress appropriately for your academic job interview, as it shows your interviewers that you are serious about the position and ready to take on the challenges of the role.
If you aren’t sure what clothes to wear to an academic job interview, consider these three tips:
- Dress to impress.
You should always be well-dressed for any type of job interview, but particularly so if you’re applying for a position in academia. Academic institutions usually have strict dress codes for their faculty members and staff; this means that you’ll want to look like someone who fits into that environment. For example, if you’re interviewing at a university with a strict business casual policy, then make sure your outfit is appropriate for such an environment. If possible, ask someone at the university what would be appropriate attire for your meeting; this will help ensure that you’re dressed appropriately and don’t end up looking out of place or underdressed.
- Consider local customs and norms before choosing your outfit.
If possible, try researching local traditions or customs so that
The Academic Interview Dress Code
The academic interview dress code is generally more conservative than for other types of job interviews. You should wear business attire to an academic job interview. The professional attire does not have to be as formal as for a business dress code, but it should be neat, clean and well-pressed. Wear shoes that are comfortable enough for walking.
Tips for Men on What to Wear to an Academic Job Interview
Men should wear a suit or sport coat with slacks and button-down shirt in dark colors like black, navy blue or dark brown. Men with long hair should wear it tied back at the neck so that it does not distract from what they say during the interview. Facial hair should be neatly trimmed. Shirts should have collars and cuffs without holes or stains on them, and ties should match the color of the shirt. Women may also have a skirt or pantsuit but they must wear pantyhose (not stockings) under their slacks or skirt, not tights or leggings that show bare legs – this is considered a major fashion faux pas!
When you are interviewing for an academic job, the first impression you make is extremely important. Your attire and overall appearance will not only make a lasting impression on the interviewers, but also has implications for how you are perceived by your colleagues in the department.
Dressing appropriately for a university interview is especially important because of this double-whammy of being both an interviewer and a potential colleague. You want to show them that you understand their culture and that you are willing to conform to it. You don’t want them to think that you are going to try to change things once they hire you!
This means that your wardrobe should be conservative, formal and professional. In many cases, this means wearing a suit jacket or blazer. If it’s not too hot where you live, button up your shirt with a tie (or bow tie). If it’s very hot where you live, consider wearing a jacket without an undershirt beneath it. It’s also perfectly fine to wear slacks instead of dress pants if appropriate for your gender and location.
The most important thing to remember when dressing for an academic job interview is to look professional.
This means wearing conservative, well-fitting clothing that won’t distract from your qualifications or personality. You want to look like you belong in the field, so don’t wear anything too flashy (read: no prints) or trendy (no ripped jeans).
Think about the expectations of the institution where you’re interviewing and follow their guidelines as closely as possible. If they’re an Ivy League school, expect a business suit. If it’s a startup company, don’t wear a suit. And if you’re interviewing at Google, make sure your hair is neat and styled appropriately (unless your interviewer explicitly tells you not to).
You’ve made it to the interview stage of your job search, but now you have to worry about what to wear. What do you wear for an academic job interview? It depends on a few factors:
The type of school. At some schools, it’s all business casual; at others, it’s all business.
The type of position you’re applying for. If you’re interviewing for a research position, you can probably get away with a suit and tie or a dress shirt and tie. If you’re interviewing for a teaching or administrative position, we recommend dressing one step down from that — business casual is fine here too.
Your gender and age. In general, men should dress more formally than women — at least until they reach their 30s or 40s. After that point, men can start dressing like they belong in their 20s — even if they’re older than that!