suits for interviews

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by ellen_a, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Mar 30, 2004

    Ok. We had this discussion a little bit on another thread. But I want to ask again, for a more definitive answer. Is it ESSENTIAL to wear a suit for interviews? How much of a factor is the suit? If I were to interview in a very nice dress or a skirt and blouse, would that be so bad?

    I just don't want to go through the hassle of finding a suit to fit and then getting it altered so that it actually fits well if its not that important (not to mention the cost). I'm very small (five foot tall, just over 100 pounds) so the suit would most likely have to come from a specialty type store or else be heavily altered.

    So anyways. People who have interviewed, people who have conducted interviews, how important is the suit?

    Ellen A.
     
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  3. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    I don't feel that a suit is all that important. I think if you dress nice in a "Sunday best" kind of dress or nice skirt and blouse, that would be appropriate. I feel that a suit is more appropriate for the "business world". Just make sure to look professional.
     
  4. dee

    dee Companion

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    I agree with Margo that you want to look professional. Your clothes should not be trendy. Another thing you may want to try is a jacket dress that looks just as nice as a suit.
     
  5. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Mar 31, 2004

    When i went last yr. i wore a ankle length skirt with a jacket that went to almost my knees. It was charcoal gray & I wore baby blue shirt under it. i hope this helps.
     
  6. jggreenfield

    jggreenfield Companion

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    I never put on a suit. I always wore slacks and a blazer, with a tie. Always thought men had it easier in this regard!!! ;)
     
  7. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    I just went to a workshop on what to expect at the job fair we're having next week... folks there said wear a suit (well, words were "look professional, take that however you choose), but being a job fair, it's probably different than an interview where they aren't weeding out tons of people...

    My mom always said "dress how you would dress for the job," but then a little nicer. ;)
     
  8. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Everyone you talk to has a different thought, I think that a suit is the only way to go. You want to look professional and put together. I was just at a job fair last weekend....and was people watching while on the lines...I noticed that people who were dressed "casual" had VERY short interviews...not to say they were not qualified, but the "look" counts!
     
  9. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    I say suit all the way....I think one looks more professional that way. I have a tan suit so I can wear a variety of different colored blouses with it. I had a group interview last yr with two other candidates..I had a suit on , another lady had a suit on but the other woman did not. But it is your decision. Plus it doesnt hurt to have a suit in your closet.
     
  10. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    I bought a suit. I spent a very stressful day looking for something inexpensive in department stores. Apparently, department store petite sections don't carry sizes below a two. Two hundred dollars later, I walked out of Petite Sophisticate (where they have lots of size zeros). I still need a shirt and shoes (I want slingbacks with a lower heel) but at least I've got a start. Thanks for the advice everyone!

    Ellen A.
     
  11. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Apr 5, 2004

    Go to the petite section of any major department store - they are CHEAP and cute!
     
  12. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Ellen, I have no advice for you, but I bought mine at JC Penny's 2 weeks ago when all their suits were on sale... between the sale and the coupon they gave me at the register, I bought a $200 3-piece pants suit for $75. I can't complain... now I just need to find a blouse and shoes. ;)
     
  13. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Thank you for the advice, Unregistered. I checked a lot of department stores in my area, in the petite sections. Sadly, many stores like Sears had a very limited selection of styles and many stores (like Kauffman's and JCPenny's) did not seem to carry size zeros. The smallest sizes I could find were 2s which are usually too large for me. Specialty stores usually have a lot of size zero items that fit me better (although in some instances are still too large).

    Clarnet--I'm glad you were able to find something! I looked at a lot of great sales suits but none fit. The skirt I got at Petite Sophisticate was actually about half off (and the total was still around $200 with the new credit-card discount applied!) so I was happy enough with that. I'm thinking about going to find a couple of different tops to wear to recruitment fairs that last more than one day. Then I can change the look of the suit without having to be another. I'm paranoid I think.
     
  14. Ms.G

    Ms.G New Member

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    A very close friend of mine works for police department and all she does is train people for interviews. Black or blue suit(prefers blue)either slacks or skirt, white blouse w/collar, small earing, and a small hint of red. either a necklace with a small red stone or a pin on your coat. When I asked why, she said just do it trust me. I hope it helps. Good Luck!!:)
     
  15. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    I say a suit. I bought an expensive suit when I was orginally job hunting years ago. This time I bought a cheap black suit, on sale at a Liz Clairborne outlet. I got a job. My current principal says we must dress professionally at all times if we want "the real world" to look at teachers as professionals. So our dress code is no denim, at all, anywhere. No denim skirts, no denim jumpers, no jeans, except for certain occassions.
     
  16. jggreenfield

    jggreenfield Companion

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    couldn't agree more!

    We are highly trained professionals, and dressing the part goes a long way!
    Jeff
     
  17. sandimreyes

    sandimreyes Comrade

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    I also have to vote for the suit. If nothing else, it is a sign of respect to the interviewer that you are ready to take this interview very very seriously. You will probably never wear it to teach, but it's always good to have an "interview suit".

    I know how difficult it is to find stuff. I am also under 5 ft. tall. Do you have any outlet stores near you? My mom worked for Kasper ASL for many years ( a women's suit designer and manufacturer) and if you go to the outlet stores, the prices are all that bad.

    Wanna hear a funny suit story?

    Today was the day that our school hosted the committee for SACS accreditation (don't know if this is just FL or other states do it...but it's a BIG deal here). Anyway...I put on a suit for work, which I NEVER do. (I wear a lot of capris, pullover shirts, and sandals kinda stuff...jeans sometimes, etc.) When I went to pick my kids up in the morning at the bell, one of my students looked me up and down and, "Were you in a meeting?" I laughed and said, "Why do you ask that?" He replied, "Because you have clothes on!" When I questioned him further, he was able to explain that he meant that I had "different" kinds of clothes on. As if that wasn't enough...when we entered the classroom, another student came up and asked me why I was dressed like that! Even the kids realized that my suit meant something important was happening!
     
  18. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2004

    I have a pair of navy blue slacks with a long jacket, the type that you turn the cuffs up. I wear it with a sweater tucked in. I had worn it to school before, but I usually end up taking off the jacket when I get too warm. Anyway one morning I hadn't taken off the jacket and one of my kinders asked me if I had a meeting that day. So even if we don't realize it the kids notice what we wear.

    The rule at our school is dress like a professional would. Think about the business world. Would it be acceptable there? If we want to be treated like professionals we need to act like it (some teachers I've met have had that problem) and we need to dress like it too. Yes it's hard to do but there are a lot of nice pants & tops that can be worn.
     
  19. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Apr 21, 2004

    I am currently not a teacher but thinking about becoming a teacher. I currently work with computers and visit many of our clients. I have found that most places I visit (including myself) dress nice but not traditional business clothes. Just because you dress in expensive suits does not make you a professional.

    However, it is their first impression of you and on an interview you want to make a first good impression. Let's face it you do not have a lot of time and you want to stand out in a positive way. The suit may give you an edge. Bascially a suit will not get a job for you. It all comes down to the interview pool (who they have to choose from) and how well you are at the interview process and your knowledge. (Unfortunately you do not know the interview pool oherwise you would know if the suit was necessary)

    My rule of thumb is always give it your best!!!!
     
  20. Margo

    Margo Devotee

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    Apr 21, 2004

     
  21. sandimreyes

    sandimreyes Comrade

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    SACS accredidation

    Thank goodness I didn't have to be on the interview team. There were a ZILLION questions that they had to remember the "correct" answers to! We were told to be prepared for them to stop us at any time and ask us questions, but they didn't. From what I understand, the day went really smoothly and was enjoyable to those involved. I just hid in my classroom in my suit waiting to hear that it was over!
     
  22. adria

    adria Comrade

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    ummmm so many views..its driving me crazy. I will be going to a job fair next month and this question is racing through my mind, that is what to wear. Well I have decided to put all of that energy into what will I say. :) I have decided to check out Ann Taylor clothing stores..they have some nice skirts in there. I think there clothes are elegant enough for me. I have two job fairs back to back at the same place so I can't afford a suit right now......I feel like as long I am professionally dressed and my mannerism is an A+ I have nothing to worry about. So my five cents is just dress professionally......
     
  23. jggreenfield

    jggreenfield Companion

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    I think that's the general sense here!

    Look the part. We are, next to their parents, the most important people in our students' lives. Old fashioned phrase, but we are role models and set the bar for what so many young people see as a profesional person.
    Wow, when you think of it that way, we are pretty important people! So, dress like a VIP!!!

    Jeff
     
  24. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Apr 22, 2004

    I'm definitely wearing my suit. I just bought a new pair of slingbacks (a bargain at only $50) and three shirts to switch around with the suit (less than $100 for all, had some coupons thankfully). So I am good to go for the interviews.

    Now I just have to get some. LOL. I've only submitted one application to my top choice place to teach. They called today to request a college transcript (which I'd already had sent, it just hadn't arrived) so hopefully they'll set up an interview. I am quite nervous!

    Job fair is this coming week! AHHHH!
     
  25. jggreenfield

    jggreenfield Companion

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    Good Luck!

    Good luck to you and all the others looking for new positions!

    Jeff
     
  26. adria

    adria Comrade

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    Thanks Jeff, but I know that God has my back :D I am confident that I will do well.....

    Take care
     
  27. jggreenfield

    jggreenfield Companion

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    on God

    Yes, and remember God helps those who help themselves!! Take charge of your life and be aggressive/positive in the interview.

    Jeff
     
  28. Caliteacher

    Caliteacher New Member

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    small professional clothes

    Hi Ellen! I am also a size zero--I had an interview a couple months ago and I was looking EVERYWHERE for something that fit. I was paranoid too, so don't feel bad. What I ended up doing was buying size zero slacks at Gap (had to take the waist in though) and wearing a size zero button down dress shirt from Express, and a nice size zero sweater from Banana Republic. I have found those places to have small sizes, although a bit pricey. Hehe, I remember being in your position, and my friends just said "Go to Petite so-and-so or X department store..." and I tried without success. ALternatively, I took a trip to Thailand recently and STOCKED up on dress pants and skirts (had them tailored to my exact measurements for super cheap). If you are planning on travelling to an inexpensive country anytime soon, perhaps you can stock up for the future and have some options instead of just one suit. Hope your interview went/goes well!!!!
     
  29. CeCe

    CeCe Companion

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    May 24, 2004

    Skirt or pants?

    Hmmm...I, too, am preparing for an interview and just bought a 3-piece suit - black jacket, calf-length skirt, & nice pants. The pants & jacket feel more like "me", but I always thought women needed to wear a skirt & jacket on an interview. Sounds like it might be fine to wear pants & jacket though??? What do you think?
     
  30. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 24, 2004

    I interviewed at my local school board. First I interviewed with the superintendent, then I was called back to interview with a principal. I couldn't afford new clothes. In both cases I wore khakis with a nice shirt. I think that how you present yourself and your capabilties are more important than the clothes you wear. Our super. is fairly casual, usually has a sports jacket and a tie, the principal is very formal, always wears business suits (skirts and jackets). I didn't feel out of place in either interview. As long as you are comfortable with the image you are presenting you'll do fine.

    Good luck!!!
    Christy
     
  31. sandimreyes

    sandimreyes Comrade

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    May 24, 2004

    Because it is a suit either way, I think you'll be ok. I'd opt for the skirt, myself, because I'd rather be overdressed than underdressed.
     

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