"Casual attire" for interview?

You are interviewing with a company on the West Coast with some senior partners of the firm. It is a significant hedge fund/private equity shop. You’ve been preparing furiously for the interview and want to make the best impression possible. However, you’ve also been advised that since you are meeting with the partners off-peak, “casual” attire would be appropriate. Your HR contact at the firm suggests that a “polo shirt and khakis” would be appropriate and totally fine as the partners you are meeting with will be dressed casually as well. Do you follow the advice verbatim in order to “look like” the partners, or do you still try to dress up a bit (think dress shirt and slacks), since you either think you’ll make a better impression that way or would rather err on the side of caution? Please discuss.

I have always been told its better to be over dressed .

I agree…I’d rather wear a dress shirt and slacks

I would tend to follow the overdress code but not in this case. If you were told by HR what was appropriate then you should do just that. I would guess that this firm would be very lean and they would be very intersted if you fit their culture. You dont get a second chance to make a first impression and I think the overdressing will do just that.

Cotton twills, blue blazer, tie might be a decent compromise.

I think the best you could hope for by dressing down is for your outfit not to be noticed. I personally think there is a lot of downside with that approach. I don’t see much downside to dressing up. Can you really imagine the partners thinking that you’re too formal because you’re in business casual?

i work in such an enviroment. shorts and flip flops everyday. we tell everyone we are casual but when sellside comes to visit they always at least wear long pants and button down. some still wear suits (maybe cause they are visiting other clients in the area) but although we are as casual as they come, i could never see them visit us in shorts. as mentioned, no upside to dressing down, plenty of downside…wear a blazer but take it off during the interview and put on back of chair, it shows you respect them to dress up but are also comfortable in their environment. is it Farallon?

It’s better to be overdressed, even if only slightly. A nice solid Polo/Lacoste-style Oxford with khakis would do just fine. You’re still casual but not ambitiously so. I don’t think a dress shirt and suit-type slacks are needed given your instructions.

The key is to be overdressed but not look it - think pressed khakis, nice dress shirt, fancy but understated jacket, nice shoes. No socks. Never wear socks. They might as well get used to the idea that real men don’t wear socks.

Numi - you’re gonna leave NYC buddy?

MFE Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- wear a blazer but take it > off during the interview and put on back of chair, > it shows you respect them to dress up but are also > comfortable in their environment. …your best bet.

I agree, wear slacks, dress shirt, and blazer / sport coat. No tie. Seems to be a decent compromise, you won’t feel too overdressed but you will still look / feel sharp.

Your in LA right? Well wear something hip then but business like. Like a velvet jacket over a t-shirt. Maybe leather pants. Chinos and a polo shirt will make you look like you came from Conneticut and won’t go over well.

Let’s say you are the partner at the PE firm and are hiring. The HR woman asks what she should tell the candidate to where. You say “it’s off season, a polo shirt and khakis are fine”. The candidate comes in wearing anything but that. I’d say nice polo, khakis, shoes and not let your attire ever come up when the partners are discussing your interview. I know the “its always better to overdress rule” but it might be different when you are told what to wear.

I mentioned the same thing bob5… I would hate for the partner to say…man we told him what to wear and he still did his own thing…

leather pants are hip and business like??? why wasnt i informed of this earlier?!?

If the guy has a problem with you wearing wool slacks and a button down shirt, you don’t want to work there anyway. I’d go with one notch above what they told you was “fine”.

I think you should interpret this to be their way of saying “we could care less what you look like” so I wouldn’t lose too much sleep steressing out over whether or not to bust out your vineyard vines. Since they’re senior partners I would be much more focused on knowing my sh!t and be prepared for a complicated technical question than stressing out over your tailor screwing up the initials on your cuff…

JoeyDVivre Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > No socks. Never wear socks. They might as well get used to the idea that real men don’t wear socks. Good Lord … What the Dickens is happening in the Colonies!?! Only three acceptable reasons for the lack of stockinged feet on the male of the species: 1) Swimming (preferably in cold water, in winter). 2) Bedroom activities (if, and only if, the lady specifically requests it - in writing, in advance, in triplicate). 3) Poverty. 17th Earl of Loxley

I think its safer to be over dressed. I remember one time I had a meeting with clients who were supposed to be casual and it was suggested I dress down. I decided to go with a suit, and as it turned out, they had other meetings that day adn were wearing suits too. Go with a suit! Worst case scenario they ask why you dressed up… tell them you had another inteview that day. Makes you look more desireable.