Making a positive statement is never more important than when you walk into the room for a job interview. First impressions are lasting, and a job interview is not the time to cut corners on your professional image. The following is a guideline that will ensure you are noticed for the right reasons:
Job Interview Attire Basics
- A dark, two-piece suit, in gray or navy is your best option when interviewing with a conservative company. Wear a black suit with caution as it may come across as harsh on certain skin tones. When in doubt, ask a trusted sales professional for their opinion.
- A sport coat and trouser may be more appropriate when the interviewer makes it a point to tell you to "dress casual". It may be a very relaxed environment and they want to see if you are a good "fit". You can always remove your coat and roll up your sleeves. It's best to err on the side of caution, rather than arrive underdressed.
- A white cotton shirt, worn with a dark suit and tie, makes a powerful entrance. A good rule of thumb; the darker the shirt, the less powerful the look. Steer clear from colors such as deep purple, chocolate brown or black. An alternative option to a white dress shirt would be a light blue, cotton dress shirt.
- A conservative tie. Wear a standard width, approximately 2 3/4, and average length, approximately 58 inches, nothing too short or skinny. A natural fiber (i.e., silk) is the most professional option. Choose authoritative colors such as red, blue, gray, and yellow in a stripe or conservative pattern. Avoid polyester, or other flimsy fabrics, as well as extreme patterns and colors.
- A leather belt with an understated buckle. The color of your belt and shoes should match or complement each other.
- A black, brown or cordovan shoe. Wear a simple lace up. Suits and casual loafers are not a good combination.
- Dark socks that cover the calf. Match your socks to your pants, rather than your trousers.
Details that Matter
-- Leather briefcase or portfolio
-- Well groomed, clean shaven face and fingernails
-- Cleaned and polished shoes (Pay special attention to the heels and soles)
-- Conservative watch with a link or leather band
-- Black or neutral color trench coat (Inclement weather)
Don'ts for Men
-- Wet hair
-- Strong cologne
-- Excessive jewelry
-- Short sleeve dress shirt
-- Visible body piercings and tattoos (Cover tattoos with a band aid or flesh colored tape)
-- Dock or tennis shoes
-- Rubber sports watch
-- Bow tie and/or suspenders; may come across as "postured"
-- Jeans and t-shirts
-- Sunglasses worn on top of the head
-- Exposed technology; turn off cell phone and keep out of sight
-- Carrying a book bag rather than briefcase
Good luck on your job interview!
For information on what a woman should wear to a job interview, read Suiting Up for Success: Job Interview Attire for Women (Part I).