What to Wear to an Interview

Patrick asks a question I’ve touched on before, but I think bears some detailed answering:

What should I wear to an interview for a P.A. job? Should I dress formally?

My dad used to tell me I should dress one level higher than the guy I’m interviewing with.  If he’s wearing shorts, I should wear pants; if he’s wearing a button-up shirt, I should wear a tie. I suppose if the interviewer is wearing a suit, I should put on my spats and top hat.

I do keep a cane handy, just in case.
And grow a ridiculous mustache.

Then again, my dad never worked in Hollywood. This is a casual town. Other than Alfred Hitchcock and Ari Gold, nobody wears suits. If you come in for a PA job in even a tie, people are going to assume you’ve never seen a PA work.

On a normal day, production assistants wear jeans (or shorts) and a t-shirt.  Office PAs may wear polo shirts, just because they’re not likely to get dirty, but it doesn’t get much fancier than that.

But don’t go too comfortable, either. A grease-stained tank top, sweat pants, and flip-flops aren’t going impress anybody, no matter how casual the environment.

Girls probably have a little bit more wiggle room.  A skirt or slacks, whichever’s comfortable, but wear close-toed shoes if you want people to know you actually came work, and not just look pretty answering a phone.  (A perfectly valid career choice, if you’re okay with it.)

And, of course, take my advice with a grain of salt; as a straight, white male, my opinion on women’s fashion doesn’t count for much.

You should be clean shaven– face for guys (or at least a well-trimmed beard), legs for ladies.  And you should probably smell like you’ve bathed at least once in the last few days.

All of that being said, the sentiment behind my dad’s advice is still true– you should present yourself in the best possible light.  You’ll get dirty and sweaty and gross as a PA. Some days, you’ll skip the shower and forget to shave.  You’ll put your shirt on backwards and your socks won’t match.  You’ll be wearing the same pants you had on yesterday, when you offered the scripty a ride home, then woke up on her couch this morning with only the vaguest, booze-fogged recollection of what happened last night.

But all that happens after you have the job.  Your interview should be the best you ever look on the job.

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5 Responses

  1. Wear pants if you’re not going to shave your legs! Ha ha. Otherwise, yes, yes you do have to shave.

  2. Frodo, your an idiot. No woman with any self respect would want to work for some misogynistic asshole that requires women to shave. Do men shave their legs? No.

  3. Hey, ADWPayroll. No one wants to see furry legs in a professional workplace. Stop being so hypersensitive. Leg hair is visible through sheer pantyhose. OBVIOUSLY some people have light, barely-there leg hair that hardly grows at all, blah blah. But most don’t! “Don’t judge a book by its cover ” – said everyone ever except hiring managers, who judge you from head-to-toe and on average decide whether they want to hire you within 90 seconds. Something as simple as not shaving shows sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail and they will assume that these traits will translate into your work performance. So get over it and don’t be so thick. In no way whatsoever was the author of this article being sexist.

  4. Did you really suggest women have shaved legs for an interview? Is someone going to be checking?

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