I stumbled upon an article in the Washington Post that recommends a suit and tie (or a dark suit and pearls for women) for any and all job interviews. As someone who has hired dozens of people, I heartily agree with this advice. Looking sharp on an interview may not get you a job, but it shows respect for both the position you are applying for and the person who will be interviewing you.
Dressing down for an interview sends an instant message to a prospective employer that you are either too ignorant to know enough to dress appropriately, or too independent to be a team player. And, as my previous boss at WMAL liked to say, "Casual dress means casual work". I do not necessarily agree with the sentiment that one must wear a suit and tie to work everyday - especially not in radio - but on job interviews? You betcha!
I have, of course, hired people in the past who did not heed that advice, simply because their talent overcame their lack of common business sense. There was a guy who once applied to be my afternoon anchor. He had a great sound, and his writing was superb. But when he came for his first interview, he was wearing an open collar with a vest. I plowed right past this, and after a good interview, I invited him back the next day for an interview with my boss. And I told him to make sure to wear a tie.
The next day, the guy showed up, and he did have a tie around his neck. It was, however, just draped, and not really tied. It became instantly clear to me that the poor schmo did not know HOW to tie a tie. But at least he followed instructions. And we hired him anyway. Bear in mind, however - that it was a source of concern in the interview process for both myself and my boss. This guy was able to rise above the "suit and tie" rule. It doesn't mean you will.
There is a headline on Drudge today that says "Ohio school gets 700 applicants - for one janitorial job!". What do you want to bet the winning applicant will be someone who took the opportunity seriously enough that he wore a suit to the interview?
It's the little things that get you jobs. Wear a suit. Don't post pictures of yourself getting plastered on Facebook.
And for god sake, DON'T go into radio!