Jump to content

I was under-dressed for my interview; did I completely ruin my chances?


Recommended Posts

So, the short version is that I went to my interview incredibly under-dressed; while the other three applicants all wore grey suits I had on a green dress and boots...

 

The long, but not really important, version is that for Interview Day last Friday I was one of two applicants to my POI's lab and four in total to the department. I actually live in the city near the school, so I had driven there from another meeting I had early in the morning. On the way there, I spilled coffee all over my suit so I had to run home and change into SOMETHING decent; the only thing I had clean was that dress. When I got to the breakfast before the interviews and such I felt like I was getting weird looks but I explained my situation to the grad students and we had a laugh. But I forgot to mention it to my POI or anyone else; partly out of nervousness and maybe because unconsciously I didn't want to sound like I was making excuses. I don't know... 

 

Anyway, I guess my question is has anyone been in a similar situation and gotten through it? Is there any hope for me? Or should I just assume the worst? It's been over a week so it would be weird to email the advisor to explain myself. I feel like an idiot...

Edited by Khani
Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess it depends on where you are and the formality of the program. At a California school, only one interviewee was in a suit while the rest were 'business casual,' probably like the outfit you ended up wearing. I certainly wouldn't email now! There's a chance the grad students you spoke to passed along the story, anyway, especially if they thought it was funny and liked you. Let's just hope your demeanor and application and personality won them over. :) 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Linelei - since current grad students are often asked for their impression of the applicants, it's quite likely that the story was passed to your POI. Especially if your outfit did make a bad impression, and they said something to the grad students ("I can't believe so-and-so wore that dress..."), then the grad students probably told them why. They might even be glad that you didn't try to fawn over them with excuses. Good luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a guy and went to two interviews so far. The first interview all of us guys there were in suits (There was about 5-6 males). This seemed to be standard as all the professors present were also wearing suits. Some of the admissions office staff weren't wearing suits and the students on hand for questions weren't wearing suits either (of course it's like a job interview, dress to impress but once you're in dress how the job/setting dictates).

 

The second interview there was only one other guy there with me. I was in my suit, he was in dress khakis (a dark color), a dress shit two buttons unbuttoned with no tie. To me it was a bit underdressed. However at this interview at least 2 professors were dressed the same way (although slightly dressier). And the students were dressed very casual. For my M.A. interview I just wore khaki pants, dress shirt, and tie. And same for the associated internship interviews. Got both.

 

As for women, I went to one of the above interviews and there was a wide range of dress attire although most of the women had professional suits on. One woman who appeared really young was dressed very quirky with Doc Marten like boots on with leggings, heavy skirt, and some sort of turtleneck shirt. She looked more casual but she was extremely outgoing with the faculty and very relaxed so I doubt her attire mattered too much.

 

If it helps I was advised to dress business professional with a suit and only add a little bit of personal touch (i.e. - choose a color that stands out a bit in the shirt and tie but keep it clean, sleek and professional). So I chose a gray suit with a light blue shirt and a tie with a basic blue/gray pattern.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to a luggage mishap (long story), I had to interview at a top choice PhD program wearing a horse dress and moccasins. And when I say "horse dress" I mean a dress with little horses printed all over it. Yellow and blue ones. I joked about my outfit with grad students and other prospectives, but I didn't waste what little time I had with my POI talking about my clothes. It was a west coast interview, so a lot of people weren't wearing suits, but I was definitely the only person with animals printed on her clothes. I don't know if the story got around or not, but I did get the offer. Hopefully your attire won't be a deal breaker either. Good luck! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Due to a luggage mishap (long story), I had to interview at a top choice PhD program wearing a horse dress and moccasins. And when I say "horse dress" I mean a dress with little horses printed all over it. Yellow and blue ones. I joked about my outfit with grad students and other prospectives, but I didn't waste what little time I had with my POI talking about my clothes. It was a west coast interview, so a lot of people weren't wearing suits, but I was definitely the only person with animals printed on her clothes. I don't know if the story got around or not, but I did get the offer. Hopefully your attire won't be a deal breaker either. Good luck! 

Thank you! I guess you must have wow-ed them with your knowledge and personality :) but that is encouraging.

 

I appreciate everyone else's input/support as well. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.