Dress Codes for Interviews


It is universally acknowledged that within the first 30 seconds of meeting a potential new employee the interviewer will judge them. First impressions, unfortunately, mostly come down to what we look like.

That is why dressing appropriately for an interview is so important.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this means you should go out and buy a suit as a simple go-to interview outfit. Publishing is a creative industry; whilst looking smart is paramount at an interview, dressing like you is also key.

As a general tip, don’t dress up for an interview. Dress like you would if you got the job and were going into work at the office every day. Smart, but not overly so.

  • Stick to the guidelines given. If they say “smart casual” do not go above ‘smart’ by wearing a two-piece power suit, but definitely don’t go below the guidelines by wearing denim jeans and trainers.
  • If you’re unsure as to what to wear just ask us when you come to a pre-interview meeting. You can even use the meeting as a practice-dress, if you like.

For example, a generic high street suit will not express your personality or originality and in a creative industry, could be judged as unimaginative or overly conservative.  Just small tweaks like adding accessories or having a well-fitting but less conventional jacket can make all the difference in helping you to stand out and express yourself and your character.  You also need to feel comfortable and confident and none of us feel at our best when wearing an ill-fitting outfit that we would never otherwise consider putting on for the office or a meeting.

  • For an interview most women could wear a dress/blouse with a jacket that looks good, but isn’t necessarily a matching suit.  You can accessorise with a scarf or jewellery or statement shoes.
  • Men don’t need to be left out and can still look sharply dressed and add touches of coordinating colour through a tie, cuff links, glasses, watch etc. Pick a shirt that fits you well, is comfortable and is ironed.  You don’t want to appear to be wearing a baggy school uniform shirt or a collar that’s so tight you can barely breathe.

It’s important to be memorable but you probably don’t want to be remembered for a terrible comedy tie or a too loud shirt.  Try your outfit on well in advance if possible and get your housemates or partner to give you honest feedback if you’re feeling worried.

Dressing for an interview is always a tricky balance, but I think it’s important to feel comfortable and confident, whilst looking your best and feeling your best. Erring on the side of smart usually is safer, but there are always ways of being smart without being an uncomfortable dark suited clone.

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