What to wear to an interview at Google or Facebook

What to wear to an interview at Google or Facebook

by Felicia Daniels

Dressing formally for an interview marks you as an outsider at a company like Google or Facebook, where executives wear hoodies and shoes with toes. "Feel free to leave your suit at home - we're business casual here at Google," Google recruiters warn candidates. Silicon Valley's informal dress code can be confusing to interviewees who are new to the field.

The dress code at Google, Facebook, and other informal tech companies is very similar to a university dress code. The most formal attire is similar to what a professor might wear: a button-down shirt and slacks. The least formal attire is athletic wear. Everything in the middle is acceptable, too.

 Google executives in 2010, wearing the most formal outfits you'll see at the company's headquarters. Photo by  Robert Scoble , licensed under  CC BY 2.0

Google executives in 2010, wearing the most formal outfits you'll see at the company's headquarters. Photo by Robert Scoble, licensed under CC BY 2.0

For an interview, we recommend a serious, respectable outfit that stays within that formality range. Most candidates wear nice jeans and a plain t-shirt, blouse, or sweater. People who prefer the formal end of the spectrum can wear slacks and a blouse or button-down shirt. (If you opt for slacks, keep your jewelry and shoes simple to avoid looking too formal.) 

The lack of a dress code isn't a free pass to wear anything, though. You don't want to look like you woke up late and scooped your clothes off the floor. Your outfit should be clean and wrinkle-free, and leave the sweatpants, yoga pants, and ripped jeans at home. We also recommend avoiding any distractions: no booty shorts, crop tops, flashy jewelry, or visible bra straps.

Below are a few examples showing the range of acceptable interview attire. (You'll have to imagine them without the sexy poses and Instagram filters.)

If you want more ideas, watch The Internship and see what Rose Byrne's character wears. It's a terrible movie, but they nail the fashion. If you're more into jeans and t-shirts, channel your inner Elsie Hughes -- Westworld got everything right, including how to dress a woman engineer.

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