Asking About the Dress Code (Plus 8 Tips for Starting a New Job)

When you go to a job interview, your primary focus is usually on making a good impression. This doesn’t just involve your skills, experience, and conversation; it also pertains to what you’re wearing. 

You know how to dress for an interview: business attire for both men and women. This style of dress is generally conservative and professional, fitting the attitude you want to convey toward a job. 

Though you may remember to ask about what you’ll be doing for the job and how much it pays, asking about the dress code often falls off the radar until it’s time to get ready for work on your first day! 

But how do you ask in a way that is professional? 

Asking About the Dress Code 

  • Make a note to yourself. When you come into the interview, you’ll likely have notes detailing

    some questions you’d like to ask about the job in general and what your duties will be. Add a note to ask about the dress code to make sure it doesn’t slip your mind. 

  • Be direct. Though it won’t be the first question you ask, directly ask, “What is the dress code for this position?” It’s likely that you’ll be asked, “Do you have any other questions?” This is a simple and direct way to get the information you need. 

  • Keep a pleasant expression no matter the answer. If the answer comes back that the dress code is upscale professional, and you only have the suit you’re wearing, don’t let any discomfort or concern show on your face. If it’s a standardized uniform that they provide and you were hoping to wear your own clothes, keep your smile. You don’t want to send the message that you are a complainer or going to cause a problem over a minor detail. 

  • Follow up with questions to confirm you understand. If the answer is anything but “We will provide you with a uniform,” ask a few follow-up questions to make sure that you won’t be overdressed or underdressed. Are pants okay for women? Are flats preferred instead of heels? Do long sleeves have to be worn? Just be sure you understand. 

  • Offer an example. If there is any confusion or you are still not sure, offer an example of an outfit or specific clothing items to make sure you get approval.

Once you have the dress code down, show up with your best foot forward and make a great impression on your first day. 

8 Tips for Starting a New Job 

  1. Dress according to the dress code. Now that you know what to wear, make sure you wear it. Show up on the first day looking presentable and ready to go. If your employer has said they will provide all or part of the uniform, show up in casual business attire in case they don’t have your uniform ready for you. This way, you still present a professional front to customers and your bosses. 

  2. Bring whatever you need with you. If you need tools or supplies to do your job, make sure you bring everything you can with you on the first day. Don’t assume it will just be training videos or paperwork. You may not need to bring anything, but it’s far better to come prepared just in case. 

  3. Arrive early. Give yourself extra time to get to work on your first day, even if it seems like it’s nearby. Unexpected issues when you’re getting ready, traffic, or car problems all pop up. You want to make sure that you not only arrive on time but even a bit early. 

  4. Connect with a supervisor. When you arrive, ask for a supervisor. You want to meet your new boss if you haven’t already, make a good impression, and let them know that you are early and ready to go. Don’t wait to be told what to do or where to go. Ask. 

  5. Be patient. First days at work can be chaotic — not just for you but also for the people you work for. It may not be clear what your duties are, who is to train you, or what the details of your day to-day schedule will be. It may take a few hours or days to fill in all the blanks and to connect with all the resources and training you need to do your job well. Be patient as it unfolds. 

  6. Ask questions. It’s okay to double check that you understand something and ask follow-up questions. Not only does it help you make sure you are getting things right, but it also lets people know that you’re paying attention and you care. 

  7. Take notes. If there is a lot to remember and a lot of details — and there certainly will be over the first few days — it doesn’t hurt to take notes so you can remember where things are, what to do and in what order, and whom to contact with questions. 

  8. Be prepared to stay late. Just as you should arrive early, you should mentally prepare yourself to stay late as well. Unless it’s a quick training session and you’re let go early, it’s better to be prepared to put in the time to learn the job and learn it well. You don’t want to be the person who’s constantly asking when they can leave throughout the shift. 

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