Should I wear a suit to a pre-job interview testing session?
December 7, 2004 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I will probably be taking a test to determine whether or not I will get an interview for a job. The test-taking will take place in the offices of the company where I'm interviewing. Should I wear a suit?
posted by kenko to Work & Money (19 answers total)
Why wouldn't you?
posted by Stan Chin at 12:55 PM on December 7, 2004

Yes, if the job is one where you would normally wear a suit or you would wear a suit to the interview. Consider this an interview. Always look your best when you are unsure.
posted by ..ooOOoo....ooOOoo.. at 12:55 PM on December 7, 2004

Well, I was going to, but then some other people told me not to bother, which I thought was odd.
posted by kenko at 12:57 PM on December 7, 2004

I agree, dress as you would dress for the interview. The on-site test is just the beginning of the weeding-out process. First impressions count.
posted by vignettist at 12:58 PM on December 7, 2004

A good rule of thumb for interviews, interview-related activities (such as tests) and presentations: Always dress one step above your audience.

So, for example, if your audience is in jeans and a t-shirt, wear khakis and a dress shirt. Audience in business casual? Wear a suit.

Of course, the ultimate extension of this is that if your audience is in suits, you should wear black tie, but I probably wouldn't go that far.

(PS: First post after a year of lurking!)
posted by Futurehouse at 1:01 PM on December 7, 2004

If it's a place where a suit would be really out of place (e.g., a skateboard fabrication plant), then maybe not. Otherwise, dressing formally carries an important message to interviewers that you are serious about the position and you know how to present yourself to others. If not a suit, I'd advise you to dress as formally as you can. Remember the interviewers don't know you at all, and those first few seconds of an initial impression linger in people's assessment of you.
posted by jasper411 at 1:04 PM on December 7, 2004

I also agree that you should dress as you would for the interview, though I'd save the best suit/outfit for the interview. First impressions are very important - besides, what if they wanted a quick word or something like that after the test?

Good luck, btw!
posted by widdershins at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2004

Futurehouse is exactly right. I'm a consultant, and I visit different client offices all the time, and that's exactly the note you want to strike--you want to be one of the best-dressed people in the room, without trying too hard.

(Usually, for me, that means a sport coat, with business casual underneath. At a more casual place, jeans and a polo, or slacks and an Oxford shirt if it's a bit more dressed up.)

If you really don't know, then a suit's probably fine. No one reasonable is going to begrudge a prospective employee a little nervousness. I've hired a lot of folks that the only time I've ever seen them in a suit was in the interview, and I've certainly never held it against them.
posted by LairBob at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2004

Nobody will complain that you wore business attire. Everyone will complain if you don't. Regardless of what anyone tells you.
posted by filmgeek at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2004

I always thought that the rule was to dress one step above everyone else. One step above makes you stand out and appear well dressed-two steps makes you look like a pretentious kissass.

And as someone who went through extensive testing for my current job, I would urge you to consider the testing process as a part of the formal job interview.

Good luck!
posted by Sheppagus at 2:00 PM on December 7, 2004

Well, filmgeek, I was once told not to worry about dressing formally for a test or interview, didn't, and still got an offer. Just sayin'.
posted by kenko at 2:10 PM on December 7, 2004

Overdressing won't hurt your chances (unless it's dress-specific job, like a clown college or something). Underdressing might hurt your chances. Why not just wear the suit and be safe?
posted by 4easypayments at 2:33 PM on December 7, 2004

two steps makes you look like a pretentious kissass.

Really, no such thing in job interviews. Except to other interviewees who didn't dress up and are trying to justify it to themselves.

A sixteen page resume would be too much though.
posted by dness2 at 2:54 PM on December 7, 2004

But then the bigger question -- can you wear the same suit both times?
posted by ontic at 4:58 PM on December 7, 2004

Problem solved: I only have one.
posted by kenko at 5:02 PM on December 7, 2004

ontic, you can basically wear the same suit, if it comes down to it, as long as you don't wear the same shirt and tie both times. Most men repeat their suits on a pretty frequent basis--rule of thumb is that 99% of the other guys won't notice unless you wear the exact same combo, and the women who _do_ notice it's the same suit won't care, as long as you're clearly making an effort to change things up a bit.
posted by LairBob at 5:20 PM on December 7, 2004

I've sat in at interviews at a "t-shirt and pants" company where the interviewee dressed in a suit and afterwards more than one person made some comment about how he was overdressed. The guy didn't get the job and I suspect one of the main reasons was people were worried he wouldn't fit in well. I personally didn't think anything of his dress but I just want to chime in and say overdressing can hurt you. One step up, good. More than that and it may look bad, and for sure won't look any better.
posted by aspo at 5:22 PM on December 7, 2004

posted by Pressed Rat at 5:58 PM on December 7, 2004

Unless the company you're interviewing with tells you to dress otherwise, wear a suit.
posted by AstroGuy at 8:57 AM on December 8, 2004

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