What You Should Wear to a Music Business Job Interview

Tips for Striking the Right Fashion Chord During Your Interview

young woman shaking hands with another woman for job interview
Hero Images/Getty Images

Dressing for a job interview can sometimes be a challenge—what you wear can depend on the kind of job you're applying for and the culture of the company itself. What you'd wear to an interview at Facebook might be very different from what you'd wear to an interview with Goldman Sachs, for example.

But what about a music business job interview? That can be extra tough. You don't want to come off looking too, you know, "business-y," but you also don't to come off looking like a slob who isn't taking the potential job seriously.

How do you strike the right balance?

Basic Music Industry Interview Dress Code Tips

If you're hoping for a straightforward, hard and fast rule, I have bad news: There aren't any. However, the good news is that you can really take the whole "music" factor out of the equation and plan for this interview as you would any other. Here are some good rules of thumb to keep in mind as you select your effortlessly cool, perfectly picked music biz interview get-up:

  • Consider the position. You may be thinking that you don't want to look like you're interviewing with a law firm or an investment bank, but if you're interviewing to do legal work or financials within the music industry, that is exactly who you're interviewing with and how you should look. For instance, the legal team at a major record label is probably going to want to see you dressed as a legal professional when you show up to interview. Even if the office culture is more relaxed, go for professional business attire for these types of interviews and save the Ramones t-shirt for when you actually have the job.

  • Consider office culture. If you've ever visited the company, you already have a feel for the general dress code, but if you've never been through HQ front doors, use the company's website and social media profiles to get a read on the casualness of the office environment. You may also be able to draw some general conclusions based on the type of music industry work the business does. If they're a music marketing company out meeting people regularly, for example, the dress code may be turned up a notch when compared to a small indie label that has three people on staff and is based in someone's home office.

  • Dress one step up from the dress code. Whatever you assume the company's usual dress code to be, dress for your interview one step up from there. If you think the company employees usually wear jeans and tees, rock what your mom might call "dress slacks" or skirt, for example. This should land you in the "I'm taking this job seriously but I'm not so overdressed that I stick out" category—a good place to be.

  • When in doubt, pull out all the stops. You may feel a little uncomfortable sitting there in your polished attire, the only one in the office without stains of indeterminate provenance on their clothes, but not nearly as uncomfortable as you'd feel if you're the only one in the building dressed in what you plucked from the pile of clothes on your floor that morning. Job interview fashion is one area in which overdoing it is far better than under-doing it. 

So, You Missed the Dress Code Mark—Now What?

So, what do you do if you completely misjudged your interview attire? Take it in stride and don't let it throw you off your game during the interview itself. You can outshine your clothes. Remember, they're not looking to hire you for your fashion sense (can you imagine dressing for an interview in the fashion industry?

Now, there is a challenge). If it feels right, you can make a little joke about your clothing misfire to break the ice. If it doesn't, just get your game face on and dazzle them with your music industry knowledge and experience. Someday, after you've landed the job, you can look back and laugh and be glad you don't have to go through the interview again.

Find Your Next Job

Job Search by