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I have been invited to interview for 3 schools with no choice in the dates and unfortunately, the first interview is my first choice program (Applied Developmental Psych at Fordham). I feel like I have a fairly decent grasp on how to prepare and feel comfortable with the interview process itself, but I have no idea how to dress. I have read so many conflicting reports ranging everywhere from business casual to "it would have been embarrassing to not be in a suit". As a female, the breadth of outfit types is stressing me out more than anything else!

Also, what can I expect from an open house (as opposed to an interview) and a department reception the night prior to interviews?

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Hi, I will also be attending Fordham’s interview weekend (clinical psych though) and I will be wearing my suit. I was never a dress person and I have bad taste in fashion in general, but I feel like a suit is clean and professional (I’ll also wear a solid blouse and a nice but non flashy necklace).

Edited by corbeau

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I have been to interviews in the past and you should definitely wear a full suit. Everyone is dressed very nicely. 

Don't buy a $40 blazer from Target, that won't be nice enough. (What I had for my first interview, then went out and bought a $175 suit from Macy's)

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I would say I've heard/read more votes for "business casual" than I have for "definitely wear a full suit," but it probably depends on lots of variables such as which school and which program. Personally, I have an interview for a counseling psych program and I'll shoot for somewhere between business casual and full suit (currently I am thinking a black formal blazer, colored blouse, formal trousers that aren't black, a necklace, and black office-appropriate ankle boots). I had previously tried pairing black trousers with that outfit to make it "more formal," but then I felt like everything was too dark (blazer + trousers + shoes) and it felt too dull for me. I'd say take all of the advice you've read into account, but definitely wear something that won't hinder you from being/feeling like yourself at the interview!

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You are going to get so much conflicting advice on this one, especially since the norms vary depending on a number of factors (type of program, local social norms, etc.)

 

Considering the information you provided, I would suggest a couple of things: 

1) It's easier to dress down during the interview process than it is to dress up; if you wear a pantsuit to the interview, you can always take off your jacket

2) Since Fordham University is in New York, layers work wonders (this will help if you end up realizing that the social norms are to dress a bit more casually during the interview)

3) You are applying for a non-clinical, experimental psychology program. Usually, such programs are not super formal (though this may vary depending on where you are). It's usually okay to walk the line a bit more between casual and formal wear

 

What I'm wearing for my first interview (Social Psychology at Princeton) is a nice button down shirt (not too low cut, more business casual appearance), professional shoes (if you decide to wear heels, keep them short and chunky -- many interview days include a tour of the campus, and you don't want to destroy your feet), black pants, and a black jacket (both from Target and matched in color to approximate a suit). Remember: this is academia! It's okay if you don't have $150 to blow on a suit! As always, don't overdo the jewelry, and definitely go light on makeup.

 

That said, don't be afraid to be yourself! You've got this!

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I interviewed at Fordham last year and the majority (if not all) of us were in formal interview attire, meaning pantsuit or appropriate skirt/blazer combo. In general, I like to air to the side of caution and be more formal. It was cold when I interviewed, but I wore flats because I didn't really have any boots that would look nice with my formal outfit. I hope this helps! As other people said, there are a number of factors that might be contributing to the conflicting reports, but try and see what people in Psychology are saying because other fields might be more causal. 

 

 

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Reiterating some of the above, clinical psychology, from what I've gathered in the forums, tends to be more formal. When I went to an interview last year, everyone was wearing some kind of pant/skirt suit, and all the guys had suits with ties. Many interview "weekends" also have non-interview events, like dinner with faculty and/or graduate students, which tends to lean more business casual. As mentioned above, if you're really stressing about this, it's easier to dress down than up, so you could opt for a suit and take off your jacket if you feel overly dressed. However, being overdressed is better than being underdressed! Personally, the hardest thing for me is matching business clothing (particularly footwear) with the weather this time of year. I've resigned myself to flats and am hoping for the best.

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17 hours ago, b_l91 said:

Reiterating some of the above, clinical psychology, from what I've gathered in the forums, tends to be more formal. When I went to an interview last year, everyone was wearing some kind of pant/skirt suit, and all the guys had suits with ties. Many interview "weekends" also have non-interview events, like dinner with faculty and/or graduate students, which tends to lean more business casual. As mentioned above, if you're really stressing about this, it's easier to dress down than up, so you could opt for a suit and take off your jacket if you feel overly dressed. However, being overdressed is better than being underdressed! Personally, the hardest thing for me is matching business clothing (particularly footwear) with the weather this time of year. I've resigned myself to flats and am hoping for the best.

The only way you'd be over-dressed for any interview is if you are wearing a tuxedo or prom dress... for clinical, I always suggest for the formal interview wearing suits (both guys and women - women can be pant suit or skirt/dress with nice top/blazer respectively). You want to look professional but also be comfortable, so pick what works for you. 

 

The casual dinners/social is definitely a more casual version of biz casual unless otherwise specified. I attended 7 interviews last year and for 6 of the 7 socials I (a guy) wore nice jeans or nice casual slacks with a polo or more casual button down. This was fine. 

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Are there strong feelings either way when it comes to the following:

1. Wearing black tights with a black skirt suit: is this ok, or should I try to find some (nude/off-black?) hose while I still can? 

2. What about wearing boots (almost knee length, 1 inch heel) with a skirt suit? I can see how this could look bad, and I have comfortable pumps I can wear instead, but I wouldn't mind keeping more of my legs warm as I walk around.

3. Suit jacket: is having it unbuttoned and open unprofessional? I personally prefer an open jacket because it's less restricting, but don't want to look too casual.

4. I've read online that interviewees should not wear their big coats and instead wear a large, stylish wool coat. This piece of information came from a lawyer forum though, so I'm hoping wearing my bulky but not flashy winter coat is ok? I'm not the best at winter style but can't afford a new coat.

Would really appreciate any advice or opinions!

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31 minutes ago, summertimepsy said:

Are there strong feelings either way when it comes to the following:

1. Wearing black tights with a black skirt suit: is this ok, or should I try to find some (nude/off-black?) hose while I still can? 

2. What about wearing boots (almost knee length, 1 inch heel) with a skirt suit? I can see how this could look bad, and I have comfortable pumps I can wear instead, but I wouldn't mind keeping more of my legs warm as I walk around.

3. Suit jacket: is having it unbuttoned and open unprofessional? I personally prefer an open jacket because it's less restricting, but don't want to look too casual.

4. I've read online that interviewees should not wear their big coats and instead wear a large, stylish wool coat. This piece of information came from a lawyer forum though, so I'm hoping wearing my bulky but not flashy winter coat is ok? I'm not the best at winter style but can't afford a new coat.

Would really appreciate any advice or opinions!

I think you are fine to wear whatever tights you have just as long as they aren't a super funky color. Additionally, I would go with the pumps if they aren't too high (just a little more professional looking).  

As for the suit jacket, I've been to a few interviews so far and have seen a mix of both buttoned and unbuttoned (I've always gone unbuttoned). I've also just been wearing whatever winter coat is warmest, which is usually my semi-bulky ankle length coat. I don't think it matters what coat you wear as long as it's clean! 

At the end of the day, I don't think what you wear matters all that much. I have been surprised at the diversity of outfits I've seen. You really can't go wrong with a black suit and a neutral shirt/accessories! 

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6 hours ago, jk616 said:

I think you are fine to wear whatever tights you have just as long as they aren't a super funky color. Additionally, I would go with the pumps if they aren't too high (just a little more professional looking).  

As for the suit jacket, I've been to a few interviews so far and have seen a mix of both buttoned and unbuttoned (I've always gone unbuttoned). I've also just been wearing whatever winter coat is warmest, which is usually my semi-bulky ankle length coat. I don't think it matters what coat you wear as long as it's clean! 

At the end of the day, I don't think what you wear matters all that much. I have been surprised at the diversity of outfits I've seen. You really can't go wrong with a black suit and a neutral shirt/accessories! 

Thank you!! 

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I really think there are multiple options, the key is just to look professional. For men, a suit, kakis or slacks w/ a button down and sweater-vest, kakis or slacks with button down and blazer/sport coat are all reasonable options. Having been on both ends of interviews, I do not see any of these as better or worse than the others. I don't know much about women's clothing but the general principle stands: look professional. A suit, slacks or pencil skirt with blouse, blazer. 

One time we had a candidate arrive in a t-shirt. He surely felt out of place and he was not offered a spot. Don't be that guy.

Edited by joshw4288

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Did anyone ask the program representative or faculty member that sent out the invite? I think their perspective is pretty valuable. Haha. 

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On 02.02.2018 at 12:50 AM, joshw4288 said:

I really think there are multiple options, the key is just to look professional. For men, a suit, kakis or slacks w/ a button down and sweater-vest, kakis or slacks with button down and blazer/sport coat are all reasonable options. Having been on both ends of interviews, I do not see any of these as better or worse than the others. I don't know much about women's clothing but the general principle stands: look professional. A suit, slacks or pencil skirt with blouse, blazer. 

One time we had a candidate arrive in a t-shirt. He surely felt out of place and he was not offered a spot. Don't be that guy.

What would you recommend for those who have been accepted and then invited to an Open House event? (This is how it works in some schools.) Can we afford to dress more casually in that case? 

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Hi Everyone, 

I am struggling about if I should wear high heels or loafers or flat during the interview. I think I will wear a navy blazer with a skirt. Any recommendations about the shoes? Thanks 

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48 minutes ago, Jessica W said:

Hi Everyone, 

I am struggling about if I should wear high heels or loafers or flat during the interview. I think I will wear a navy blazer with a skirt. Any recommendations about the shoes? Thanks 

Whatever you feel comfortable in that still looks professional. Interviews usually include a campus tour and if walking in high heels make you look like a baby deer (such as for myself), it may be better to wear some flat shoes. No one is going to criticize your outfit unless it sticks out. Just make sure you're professional and comfortable. 

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4 hours ago, Jessica W said:

Hi Everyone, 

I am struggling about if I should wear high heels or loafers or flat during the interview. I think I will wear a navy blazer with a skirt. Any recommendations about the shoes? Thanks 

I've been explicitly told by the uni I'm interviewing at to opt for business casual and to wear comfortable shoes. So go for COMFORTABLE shoes.

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Does anyone have any advice on the color of a suit for women? I have heard that black is the only professional option from some people, and currently have a light grey suit that I'm guessing I'll need to switch out for black. I have short black heels that I planned to wear, and don't want to look like I'm dressed for a funeral but would rather look like that than have interviewers thing I'm not dressed enough because my suit is lighter. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, spookycat said:

Does anyone have any advice on the color of a suit for women? I have heard that black is the only professional option from some people, and currently have a light grey suit that I'm guessing I'll need to switch out for black. I have short black heels that I planned to wear, and don't want to look like I'm dressed for a funeral but would rather look like that than have interviewers thing I'm not dressed enough because my suit is lighter. 

I cycled between black and tan blazers during interviews so I was worried about this too, but then saw some color diversity in other interviewees' suit choices as well. As a person who can't walk well in heels, I was also worried that flats were "unprofessional" too but that didn't matter either, I felt professionally dressed.  I'd be more hesitant about wearing something uncomfortable (like shoes) or a SUPER bright color.  If you end up going with black, there will be plenty of people of all genders in all black suits / shoes. 

Edited by psykick

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2 hours ago, spookycat said:

Does anyone have any advice on the color of a suit for women? I have heard that black is the only professional option from some people, and currently have a light grey suit that I'm guessing I'll need to switch out for black. I have short black heels that I planned to wear, and don't want to look like I'm dressed for a funeral but would rather look like that than have interviewers thing I'm not dressed enough because my suit is lighter. 

I don’t see anything wrong with a grey suit. This is the exact look I’m going for as well, I don’t see myself wearing all-black like I am planning to work at a financial institution or something ?

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11 hours ago, Hk328 said:

Whatever you feel comfortable in that still looks professional. Interviews usually include a campus tour and if walking in high heels make you look like a baby deer (such as for myself), it may be better to wear some flat shoes. No one is going to criticize your outfit unless it sticks out. Just make sure you're professional and comfortable. 

Hk328 hit the nail on the head!  If you're uncomfortable, either because the outfit makes you uncomfortable or your feet hurt, you're going to be distracted and not at your best during your interview.  A full, matching suit is ok but will most likely be overkill.  Slacks, a blouse, and a blazer or cardigan would be totally appropriate (blazer and slacks need to coordinate but not necessarily match).  You may want to take off the blazer/cardigan during the interview if it gets too warm so make sure the blouse isn't sleeveless (too informal) and you'd be comfortable wearing it on its own.  Also, don't be afraid to show a bit of your personality with your attire.  The committee wants to get to know you, not some automaton.  So if you like bright colors, wear a bright colored blouse, but pair it with neutral pants and blazer so it stands out (pairing it with other bright colors/prints will make that one piece blend in rather than standing out).  Also, I highly recommend taking a small mending kit with you to the interview.  The last thing you want so to rip a seam and have to go through the rest of the day with your undies showing...  A couple of safety pins can sometimes be a lifesaver.

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11 hours ago, Psygeek said:

I've been explicitly told by the uni I'm interviewing at to opt for business casual and to wear comfortable shoes. So go for COMFORTABLE shoes.

Thank you :)

 

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21 hours ago, IChoseThePsychoPath said:

What’s the general rule of thumb on attire for dinner events the night before the actual interview? 

I've got a dinner before in a couple of places so I'm just going to keep it business casual. Nice blouse, layered cardigan with dress pants or something.

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This is the most frustrating thing ever. I have a couple of nice blazers that used to fit, until I underwent a growth spurt in the chest area and now I do not have any blazers that fit. I cannot afford to buy another blazer, so I think that I am stuck with my backup outfit. 

Does anyone think that a grad program would think badly of me if I wore a nice blouse from Talbots with a skirt and comfortable, yet dressy shoes? I am in a little bit of a bind and would really appreciate any advice. I would pretty much be wearing what I wear to Church and have worn to presentations before. 

 

TIA 

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