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Ask the Experts: 'Interview Dress Code'

In this week's new Ask the Experts column from educational site Game Career Guide, contributing editor Jill Duffy answers a query about dress code for game industry interviews, with the help of professionals fr
Dear Experts, So we land the big interview, what to wear? Most game developers seem to have a very casual dress policy, and I assume the recruiter or manager would be dressed similarly. But I also understand that interviewees should be one step above the expected. Do we walk in with a suit or shorts? Great question! If you dress too formally for a game job interview, it might seem like you won’t fit in. Dress too informally, and you might insult. So, what to wear? Jason Weesner, a developer at Crystal Dynamics and Game Career Guide writer, suggests dressing as if you’re going on a first date. “Based on some of the dates I've been on, I guess that really varies depending on the people involved,” says Jason, “but my definition would be: nice shirt (collared, long or short sleeves), trousers (not jeans), and polished shoes (no sneakers or flip flops). I find ties to be a little too audacious for our industry, unless you're interviewing for a position where a tie might become part of your future wardrobe, like a way-upper management position.” I definitely agree. Jeans? No. Sneakers? No. Flip-flops? Not on your life. T-shirt? Definitely a no. Shorts? You’re killing me. Stick with a collared shirt (men) and a collared shirt or suitable top for women, but nothing revealing. I personally would never go on a job interview with bare legs—always slacks or a skirt with stockings. Oh, and ditch the tie. Amy Lee, a staffing professional at Pandemic Studios notes that her office “is all about supporting a positive quality of life, so we advocate dressing comfortably at work.” However, what you wear once you’re hired is different from what you wear to the interview. “Most of the developers wear jeans and sneakers, but I know one guy who likes to wear a bathrobe and slippers in the winter! While I wouldn’t recommend coming to a job interview in a bathrobe, Pandemic is open-minded about interview-wear, so my advice is to be yourself and dress casually. Pandemic is most interested in recruiting the best talent out there, so your appearance is secondary to the skills and experience you have to offer.” Additionally, the dress-code changes depending on the studio and location. You might want to dress slightly more formal for an interview at Microsoft’s main campus, where executives are likely to be strolling about the parking lot in dark blue suits. West coast cities are notoriously more casual than the east coast, so give your shoes a quick spit polish for that interview in New York, but don’t fret too much if you’ve got on some faded classic Hush Puppies for a meeting in L.A. At a recent game career talk, Fiona Cherbak of recruiting firm Mary-Margaret.com mentioned that it’s absolutely acceptable to ask an HR professional or other staffing personnel about the interview dress code on the phone when they schedule the interview with you. Good luck, Andy, and happy job-hunting! - Jill Duffy [Jill Duffy is contributing editor of GameCareerGuide.com and managing editor of Game Developer magazine. She’s wearing her very comfortable black leather Frye ankle boots and Joe’s jeans today. Send your game career questions to [email protected].]

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