What to wear to finance interviews

What to Wear to a Finance Interview?

By Fintros — June 2017

Fintros has helped tens of thousands of career ambitious current and future finance leaders learn how to dress to first round finance interviews. One of the most important things you want to project in an interview is that you are a good fit for a company. Your CV has already given your prospective employer a good sense of your qualifications, but it is how you act and comport yourself during an interview that will make the main difference. A key element of that is looking the part.

Each firm will have its own style, and you should do your research, but here are some of the basics for dressing for an interview.

  • Most financial companies - whether in retail or investment banking - favour conservative dark suits, although there are some boutique firms where executives may be a bit more adventurous. Typically, adventurous will mean a conservative pinstripe suit over a solid dark color. On some teams, a blue shirt with a white collar is considered a deal-makers shirt reserved for the big boys, don’t wear one if you are interviewing to join as a junior member.
  • Research what style is favoured by the company, the industry, and also the department. Within the same institution, there may be subtle differences between business banking divisions.
  • Almost all firms will have photos of executives on their websites, these should be used as a guideline.
  • When in doubt, you should err on the side of being slightly overdressed, rather than too casual.
  • You absolutely must make sure that your clothes are cleaned and well pressed. If you are inexperienced at using an iron, consider having several shirts pressed in preparation for interviews. It only costs an average of $1.50 at most dry cleaners.
  • You should only wear makeup and jewelry that are appropriate to the industry. Never overdo the bling. You shouldn't wear ostentatious jewelry or an expensive watch to an interview. You absolutely do not want to be more expensively accessorized than the hiring manager.
  • Many banks and financial institutions will have casual Fridays, though these may not extend to client-facing roles or the C-suite. Still, you should wear what those at the institution would on a typical workday. Don’t worry if you show up and your interviewer is wearing short sleeves and open-toed shoes.
  • Don’t wear perfume or cologne. Not only can these scents be overwhelming, most major banks now have scent-free policies. You don’t want to be remembered for your scent, and you certainly don’t want to violate company policy.
  • Finally, if your interview is being arranged by a human resources person or the interviewer’s assistant, it is acceptable to call or e-mail them to ask what is appropriate.

For more career tips, and to keep on top of job trends in the financial sector, follow Fintros on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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