At Craft Beverage Jobs, we always enjoy getting emails from job seekers. Questions vary from how to start a craft beverage career, writing cover letters , filling out applications, and to job interview tips, etc.
Recently, we received a very interesting question from job seeker, Andrew Young, on the proper dress code for a craft brewery interview he was scheduled to attend. After exchanging a few emails, Andrew offered to share his experience as he made his decision on what to wear for his job interview. Our hope is that Andrew’s experience helps make your decision easier when deciding how to dress for your own craft brewery job interview.
Take it away, Andrew!
How To Dress For an Interview at a Craft Brewery
It finally happened; you got an interview for your dream job at a craft brewery! Congrats! It’s now time to do the research and interview prep in order to give you that one up on the competition.
The problem is the unknown, and it has nothing to do with your ability to tell what malt or hops are used in a particular brew. It’s the unknown dress code for interviewing in the laid-back craft beer industry. I recently was in this very same situation, and thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts, experience, and insights from those in the industry.
The Dress Code Dilemma: What To Wear?
As I sent the email applying for a sales job at a local craft brewery that I enjoy and patron, my thoughts starting turning, and I began to think about what would happen if I got the job. How great would that be?! Quickly though, the planner in me started turning its wheels and I began thinking about the interview. The first thing I thought about was how I should dress. Having been in my fair share of interviews during my professional career, I’ve always worn a suit and tie. A suit and tie is basically the interview standard; the idea is to look professional and show respect for the position and company.
The problem is that the craft brewing industry is laid-back in nature and has the reputation of not being overly traditional – in a professional, corporate-style sense of the word.
So, how do you give the appearance of being professional with respect for the position and company, without the industry standard of a suit and tie? How do you not wear a suit and tie, and avoid looking like someone who doesn’t care? Take a moment and visualize what you would pull out of your closet. What are you wearing? Are you second guessing your choice?
Dress Code Advice From The Craft Beer Industry
My main goal was to not look stuffy, yet convey the same image that a suit and tie would to this industry. The vision in my mind was to wear nice jeans, nice shoes, button down shirt, and sport coat. To me, these pieces together are a nice mix of casual and professional (no I am not talking about a mullet). Even though I was all set, I was still a bit puzzled. This is when I decided to reach out to several breweries, and bloggers to get their industry opinion on the matter. What I received back was an interesting mix of advice.
One brewery representative suggested;
Jeans/work pants with a rough button down or collared shirt. I’d strongly recommend over dressing.
When asked about wearing a suit jacket;
I would not advise wearing a suit jacket.
Another brewery representative seemed split on their view;
I think neat and professional should be the ultimate look you should try to achieve. Depending on the interviewer, a suit could be appropriate, or it could be overdressed.
A local blogger and writer went a different direction;
If I had to err on one side, I’d probably go with the suit.
When I reached out to CraftBeverageJobs.com, Cindy Molchany offered this advice;
I would venture to guess that a suit coat and jeans would be more than appropriate. The craft beer industry just isn’t like your typical industry where suits to interviews are expected. That said, wear what you are going to be most comfortable in.
Lastly, another brewery representative all of confirmed what I was thinking;
For me it’s about respect but also understanding the culture. I want people to wear clothes that show they are at least trying, but at the same time it is the beer industry. If you show up in an Armani suit it might read too expensive or douchebag. If you show up in old jeans and a PBR t-shirt I might think you’re not taking it serious. I say the happy medium is date-night clothes. Not date-night at the most fancy place in town date-night, but date-night as in nicer jeans or khakis, a button up, decent shoes of a non-athletic nature, and optional sports coat. I think a sports coat may add just a little, but at the same time I’ve never looked at someone without one on and said “you know this guys is qualified but if only he would have worn a sports coat”.
With all of this advice in hand, I stuck with my original decision of nice jeans, nice shoes, and a suit coat.
What the industry advice revealed to me is that somewhere in the middle would be a good choice. Also knowing the brewery itself, and their personality, I knew this would be the way to go.
While at the interview, I actually saw the two interviewees that book-ended mine. One happened to be wearing khaki pants, button down shirt, and a sweater, while the other had on khaki pants with a shirt and tie. As to what the other seventeen interviewees were wearing, your guess would be as good as mine.
Seeing these opposite approaches confirmed my theory that this is not your typical interview where the industry standard suit and tie is the automatic approach.
Know The Personality Of The Brewery
My suggestion is to play off the personality of the brewery, since one may have a more professional demeanor than the next. Bigger craft brewers may want to see a more professional approach, while the little guys might be more laid-back. This experience brought me to the conclusion that the dressed-up-casual look should work well across the board. The craft beer industry is all about having fun and making great beer. You want to look the part of someone that is relaxed and ready to have fun, but you want to convey that you are right for the job and willing to work hard.
Looking back on it all, I still stick by my approach. Through this research, the best piece of advice that I received (from two different sources) was to be comfortable, be myself, and trust my instincts. This was a great reminder that brought me back to what was most important, the interview.
In the end, it’s really how you perform. You could nail their ascetic vision based on how you dress, but if you tank the actual interview, you will not get the job.
Meet Andrew Young
My name is Andrew Young. I am originally from St. Louis (go Cards), but over the past four years I have lived in Connecticut, and now Charlotte, NC. Both moves were for my company. Currently I am working in the printing industry, for the largest label manufacturer in the world (think lotion and shampoo), as an Account Coordinator. My wife and I met working together in Connecticut, and made the move to down south. I have wanted to work in craft beer since I attended college in Kansas City, the home of Boulevard Brewing Company. That is where I began to discover and fall in love with craft beer and the industry. Upon moving back to St. Louis, I began to discover the scene there, and the desire grew deeper. Though the dream has not quite materialized for myself, the dream is still alive and kicking. As hard as it is to pick a favorite craft beer, I would have to give the honor to New England Brewing Company in Woodbridge, CT, and their Gandhi Bot Imperial IPA.
You Can Hire Andrew!
Are you interested in hiring Andrew for your next craft beer sales job? Follow him on twitter, @Youngagalunga, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it along! Here are a few of the skills Andrew can bring to your sales team:
- Project management
- Customer relations
- Customer service
- People person
- Production knowledge and experience
- Writing skills
- Social networking with a beer following
- Strong beer knowledge
- LOVES beer!
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