What to Wear to a Consulting Interview

Written by . Posted in Case Interview Prep, Fit Interview Prep

Businessman in classic vest against row of suits in shop

Interviewers may have been trained to be unbiased, but that doesn’t mean you should not believe in first impressions during job interviews.  The truth is if you don’t create an impact at that moment, you will never be called for another round.

There are two ways to prepare for management consulting interviews: cognitively and physically. The former refers to readiness to resolve business cases in a structured, logical manner as well as preparing for fit interviews. The latter focuses on how you look: the first thing that recruiters notice as you step into the interview room. Your getup is the first indicator of your professionalism, and somehow it subtly affects the way you answer questions.

Positive Effects of Dressing Professionally

Your choice of clothes is part of your nonverbal communication and therefore, it conveys a lot about your personality. Dressing appropriately sends a message that you respect the interviewer, the company and the situation. This sense of awareness and respect is quite important in the field of management consulting since the position requires you to work from one client to another. Different clients have different dress codes, and you must be able to recognize and adapt with their policy readily.

How to Dress for a Consulting Interview

Management consulting is a conservative industry; hence, you must put on the right clothes when you are called for an interview. Below are some tips to consider.

  • Color – Choose a solid, dark color for your suit and tie. Black, navy or dark grey are good choices.
  • Combination – Coordinate the colors of your inner and outer clothes. A white or light-colored shirt will go well with your dark suit. Don’t wear something too bright for it’s dazzling to the eyes.
  • Shoes – Don’t forget to polish them before going to the interview. The color should match your clothes, too. For women, wearing closed, high-heeled shoes can make you feel more confident. Make sure you’re comfortable using them, though.
  • Accessories – Use accessories sparingly. Big, dangling earrings and necklaces are too distracting and noisy for the management consulting interviewer.
  • Hair – Fix it well. See to it that they don’t fall over the face during the interview. You can add some style, but you must look neat with it.
  • Make-up – For women, apply some natural-looking makeup. Before you enter the room, check if your teeth have lipstick smudges. That can be a bit embarrassing.
  • Cologne – You may apply a dab of sweet-smelling perfume. However, if you’re not sure of the scent, forget the idea. Just stay clean and fresh.

Additional Tips

Here are three tips to help you decide on what to wear for the management consulting fit and case interviews.

  • Call the Human Resources Department and ask for the firm’s dress code. It’s usually safe to follow it or to dress more formally than what employees put on to work.  If this is too difficult for you, get in touch with your network or look for advice on the Internet.
  • Always complement your clothes with other nonverbal indicators. Your formal attire won’t compensate for your poor posture. The perfect color combination of your outfit proves nothing without your enthusiasm.
  • Always stay on the safe side when choosing an outfit for the interview. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unfashionable; it just gives you a certain level of comfort. As you face the interviewer, you won’t have to worry if you’re wearing the right clothes. You can focus on giving the correct answers instead.

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