Interview 101: How to dress for your job interview

Jon Franko by Jon Franko
First impressions are big, and your first in-person interview with a potential employer might be the biggest when it comes to trying to land that job you want. Your resume needs to be in order, your questions need to be on point, and you’ve got to dress the part. Let me explain.

I remember when I was interviewing for my first internship. It was at a place called Zipatoni that has since evolved and spurred a number of other marketing agencies. In fact, it’s where my business partner and I met, so I guess you could even say Gorilla is a descendant of sorts.

Anyway, the internship. Dream gig. It was a chance to work on big clients. A chance to write real-world copy. A chance to have access to some of the brightest marketing minds in St. Louis (and a bottomless beer fridge). When interview day came around, there was only one option for attire: that poorly fitting, off-the-rack, probably wrinkled suit. You know – the one that every college kid has exactly one of. And why wouldn’t I wear this suit? I meant business. And this is what you did when you interviewed AND you meant business.

Well, not so much. At least not at an ad agency. And I should have known. If I had done my research, I would have known. So how do you avoid making the interview fashion faux pas?

Ask about dress code

Obvious, right? You’d be surprised. I bet in all of the folks I’ve interviewed to date, I have had maybe four or five people simply ask, “Is there a dress code I should follow when I come in for an interview?” So save yourself the trouble and just ask. It’s an important question, as dressing the wrong way communicates the wrong message – and that’s something you can’t afford to do in your first interview.

Do your wardrobe research

Companies are on Instagram and Facebook now. Numerous office pictures are shared. What do you see? Do you see people in power suits? Or do you see people in jeans and t-shirts? In the ad world, especially in St. Louis, you’re going to see a lot of the latter. And that’s a culture we’re proud of and want to keep.

Please don’t get me wrong – don’t wear the jeans and the t-shirt to the interview. In fact, make sure you absolutely never wear the jeans-and-t-shirt combo to the interview. But, jeans and a nice polo or blouse or jeans and a nice shirt? That’s totally fine at Gorilla.

How we dress at Gorilla

Our rule for employees is pretty simple: dress for the venue.

If we’re going to a client’s office, and they all wear suits (none of our clients actually do), well, we better break out the formalwear and dress to their office standards. But, if a client is coming to Gorilla, jeans and a nice shirt are perfectly fine. We find that the clients appreciate it and I think they often feel more relaxed.

So, if you’re interviewing at Gorilla, dress to suit our company culture while keeping all of the above in mind.

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Jon Franko

Jon Franko

A founder of Gorilla 76, Jon was named to the 2010 St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” class and was named as one of St. Louis’ “Top Young Entrepreneurs” by the Small Business Monthly. He’s a passionate Missouri Tiger and loves to spend his spare time hunting ducks and fishing for fish. Jon has served as a board member for Launch St. Louis (co-founder), the Friends of Clifton Park (co-founder) and Brightside St. Louis. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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