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Should I Wear a Suit to a Hospitality Interview?

Even though you probably shouldn’t, chances are high you really do judge a book by the cover. Studies show that new acquaintances, employers and colleagues make assumptions about all kinds of things just because of how you look. Those first impressions are hard to overcome, which is exactly why new applicants to any job should consider prepping their appearance to make sure they don’t sabotage their chances of snagging a good job.

This article looks at why dressing for success matters in the hospitality field.

People and Their Assumptions

An article in Business Insider says that people make several assumptions about you based strictly on how you look. For example, the studies show people make assumptions based on:

  • How honest and trustworthy you are just by the shape of your face.
  • If you’re “high-status,” based on whether you wear designer clothes.
  • How smart you are based on how much eye contact you have.
  • If you’re successful by how well your clothes fit.

These are unfortunate facts of human behavior, which are also the best argument for dressing up for a first meeting, whether it’s a public event or private interview. For those in the hospitality industry, that means dressing for success is important when looking for a job.

What Not to Wear – and What to Wear for Your Hospitality Interview

With these rules in mind, dressing appropriately for your hospitality interview imperative. Having clean, well-pressed conservative clothing and a neat appearance is the basic rule of thumb for any interview, whether in the hospitality field or somewhere else. Avoid vibrant colors, too-tight or ill-fitting clothing, or low cut tops for women. Pay attention to your shoes, too, and avoid high heels or shoes or boots with scuffs and scrapes.

Many businesses are fine if you have tattoos or piercings, especially the ones that are more upbeat and trendy. However,  it’s a good idea to remove any facial piercing or cover tattoos until you know the specific business policies surrounding this type of artistic expression.

Generally, if you’re applying for a back-of-house role, like busser, dishwasher or line cook, then casual dress is probably appropriate, unless the establishment is high end. This means slacks or khakis, a nice dress or skirt, or perhaps a polo or other button down shirt.

For front-of-house or customer-centric position like hostess, manager or bartender, go for business formal, especially if the business is fine dining or a higher end bar.

The general rule of attire in any interview, though, is a well-pressed conservative approach is never a bad idea. Coming into an interview in any field requires a serious approach. It’s always better to be overdressed than judged for being underdressed, in our minds. Dressing well shows you put in the effort to look nice for the hiring manager, and will likely help you avoid some of the assumptions that might make them judge you with a critical eye.

For more tips on how to land your next job, talk to the team at Gecko Hospitality.

Gecko Hospitality


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