In the days when every professional wore a business suit, knowing what to wear to an interview was far easier than it is today. Knowing what to wear to a brewery interview can be an even more daunting question: how casual is too casual? What’s the culture like at this particular brewery, and how do you know if an outfit will make you feel overdressed?
Take a deep breath. As long as what you’re wearing is clean and in good repair — that is, you’re showing that you take this interview seriously — it’s unlikely to make a massive difference to how you’re perceived.
Of course, when the competition is tight, even a small change in perception can make the difference. To feel cool, comfortable, and in control of your interview, follow our advice on the best outfit choices for a brewery interview.
Do Your Research
This step is easy if you know someone who’s familiar with the brewery in question: reach out and ask them. (Score another point for the value of having a wide network.)
For those who aren’t quite so lucky, take comfort in the internet. A quick look at the brewery’s social media pages (Facebook and Instagram in particular are helpful here) might offer you some photographs of the brewery team at work. Remember the interview rule of thumb to dress a little nicer than you’d expect to on a day-to-day basis if you won the position.
If you can’t find any helpful photographs, that’s fine; our suggestions below will be appropriate for the vast majority of breweries.
Putting Together Your Look
For most people interviewing with most breweries, “business casual” strikes an ideal balance between too casual and too dressed-up. (Between the two, overdressing is rarely as serious an interview faux pas as underdressing.)
Both men and women are well-served by a clean button-down shirt paired with khakis or a dressy pair of jeans. Women should avoid dresses, as these are usually impractical in brewery settings and make it more difficult to find the space between over and under-dressed.
In colder weather, a nice jacket or a light sweater can complete your look while providing comfort. If you’re interviewing on a hot day, choose light-colored button-down shirts which are made of cotton or linen. These breathable fabrics will keep you just as cool as wearing a t-shirt while offering a more polished look.
Regardless of what position you’re interviewing for, wear a clean pair of closed-toe shoes. After all, your interview may well include a tour of the brewing facilities. As with the rest of your clothing, try to strike a balance between sneakers and dress shoes.
Clothing to Avoid
- Anything which is ripped, including denim clothing with intentional distressing. It might look good for a night out, but it’s still not ideal interview clothing.
- Clothing, particularly shirts, which are overly tight or revealing. (This applies to any gender, not just women!)
- A nice t-shirt can look good underneath a jacket or sweater, but avoid t-shirts with graphics or bold logos.
- Branded clothing for other breweries.
- Otherwise appropriate clothing which is inappropriate for the climate will leave you either shivering or sweating. Neither is a good look at an interview.
- Clothing you’re uncomfortable in. If you’re accustomed to dressing more casually, you may have to put up with pulling at your collar a few times. However, dressing in actively uncomfortable clothes will make you less likely to feel confident and relaxed.
The Last Steps
Once you’ve decided on your interview clothing, find a second opinion. Ideally this would be from someone else in the brewing industry, but friends, partners, and family can all be invited to weigh in after reminding them of the slightly more casual nature of brewery attire.
Next, ensure your outfit is clean and ready to be worn to your interview. If you haven’t worn that shirt in a year, give it a wash to make sure it smells clean. Wrinkle-prone clothing should be ironed in the days before your interview. (If you’re traveling to your interview, roll your clothes in tissue paper to avoid excessive wrinkling.) When in doubt, ask your mom.
The last step is to take care of your outfit on the day of the interview. Avoid messy food or other obvious pitfalls, and consider bringing along a stain removal pen for any last-minute coffee mishaps.
Relax. If you’ve read to the end of this article, you’re going to be fine. Most interview clothing blunders come as the result of people caring too little about what they wear, not caring too much. As long as your clothing is clean, presentable, and not too casual or fussy, you’ll strike the right chord.