Case Interview Dress Code

The first impression you make at an interview is not with your eyes or your handshake but actually through your clothes. As a result, when going into any interview, it’s important to know the interview dress code do’s and don’ts. This is especially important for an industry like management consulting, where you will constantly interact with management teams.

Surprisingly, many candidates overlook the importance of proper dress attire. We get it – nice suits and professional clothes are expensive. But if you plan on entering the professional industry, it’s worth investing in the right clothes that you’ll be using in the future anyway. More importantly, it’s worth taking the time to understand what the right interview dress code is for consulting.

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Interview Dress Code Do’s and Don’ts

1. Do Stay Conservative

Even if you stroll around campus with Louis Vuitton belts and Gucci flip flops, leave the flashiness at home during interviews. Your goal with your clothes is for your interviewer to be unable to make any comments on them. You want your interviewer to be talking about your performance to the recruiting team, not gossiping about your outfit.

2. Do Get Groomed and Think About Your Hygiene

Your overall cleanliness is important. No one wants to hire anyone who looks or smells like a slob. Sorry, but it’s just the truth! Make sure to take a shower before your interviewer and chew on a mint before the interview if the setting allows.

3. Do Wear What’s Comfortable

You don’t want your clothing to get in the way of your performance. Make sure you try on your professional attire and practice for interviews in them at least once. Presenting a case in a suit versus your pajamas is very different – trust us, we know from experience.

4. Don’t Dress Down

You always want to be dressed more professionally than your interviewer. This demonstrates your level of respect to both your interviewer and the firm. Even if the firm seems casual in its events, the interviews are always a different ball game. Dress up!

5. Don’t Borrow Your Parent’s Clothing if They Don’t Fit

Unless money is super tight or you received a surprise interview and can’t go shopping, invest in your own professional attire. It’s okay to borrow your parent’s clothes if they fit, but if they don’t, you’ll want to buy clothes that fit you properly. There are actually many affordable options online if you do a quick Google search based on your body type.

6. Don’t Overdo the Scents

Your interview will likely will be in a simple, small room with just you and the interviewer. You don’t want to be wearing so much perfume or cologne that the scent of the room changes. If you do, your interviewer will immediately question your judgment and you may get off to a bad start.

Interview Dress Code – Males

You’ll be required to dress the same in your interviews as you would with any clients at the vast majority of consulting firms. We suggest adhering to the following guidelines:

  • Suit with both jacket and pants matching in a solid color – only blue, black, or gray are acceptable
  • Long sleeved dress shirt underneath – only white or blue are acceptable
  • Belt that ideally matches the color of your shoes
  • Tie should be solid or in subtle stripes, with the color that is neutral and goes well with your suit
  • Dark socks that are the same color as your suit pants
  • Conservative leather shoes either in black or brown
  • Professional watch (optional but a nice touch)
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Limited amount of cologne
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Interview Dress Code – Females

The interview dress code for women are a bit more complicated because there are more options to choose from. We know, it’s hard to know what to pick! But here are some general guidelines that you can consistently follow.

  • Suit with both jacket and pants matching in a solid color – only blue, black, or gray are acceptable
  • Suit skirt should be just below or above the knee
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes – never wear open-toe or open-back shoes
  • Limited jewelry – keep it subtle and not flashy
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral colored pantyhose
  • Light make-up
  • Limited amount of perfume
  • Clean, neatly manicured nails
  • Portfolio or professional bag

Case Interview Dress Code Summary

Case interviews can be nerve wracking, but making a silly mistake on what to wear is totally avoidable. Following the above tips should give you confidence that you’re following expectations and nothing you’re wearing will deduct points from your result. You don’t need to go buy a $1000 suit, but following the above tips should set you up to crush your interview!

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