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Job Magician Men's Tips on
Dressing for the Job Interview
by
Andy Gilchrist
 

Andy Gilchrist is the author and owner of Ask Andy About Clothes (www.AskAndyAboutClothes.com), the  world's most-visited (and best) site for men's clothing advice.

The interview is, without a doubt, the time to make the very best possible impression you can make.   This is a situation that calls for a serious business outfit.  You, of course, want to be perceived as serious about the job, the company and the work you will be doing. You may be applying for a casual dress job, but the interview is always dress up!

You will be trying to convince the person interviewing you that - with your serious, conservative clothing - you are  the type of person who will fit in at the company, will not rock the boat, or call unnecessary attention to yourself (team player).  That’s the reason for conservative clothes and a reason to avoid fashion statements.  Clothing is an expression of  your respect and consideration for the situation.

Candidates who ignore the importance of dressing to impress cannot be serious about the job in the minds of most interviewers. Interviewers expect interviewees to look a certain way, so disappointing them at first sight is the kiss of death. You will need to look right to a stranger who is making an important evaluation of you within 30 seconds of meeting you.   And since 90% of you is covered by clothing (hide those tattoos!) the clothing choices you make can have a significant impact, but can be used to your advantage.

Most recruiters or personnel executives realize if you’re just starting your career you are on a limited clothing budget, but they will expect clean, appropriate clothing that fits with the style of the company where you are interviewing.

In this competitive age, average doesn’t get you anywhere.  To be successful you have to look the part.  Don’t kid yourself that having a good degree, innovative ideas, enthusiasm, motivation and a great personality  doesn’t mean that an appropriate appearance is of secondary importance.  If you did not have the first qualities you would not have been invited to interview with the rest of the candidates.

Tip For the Future:  After you get the job, dress for the position several levels higher (dress like your boss’s boss).  If you want a promotion you must look like you deserve it and can fit into the post.

Some Specifics on What To Wear:

  • Wear a suit (it’s more serious than a sport coat). 
  • Best colors are Navy or Charcoal Gray Single Breasted suit. 
  • Note: Black vs. Navy.  For men, black is not usually considered appropriate for business (social, funerals - yes).   Navy is the dominate power color.  Recently this has been challenged by female executives wearing black since black is such a powerful color. 
  • Button your suit when you enter the interview office.  You may unbutton it when you sit down.  Button it back up when you stand to leave.  Always leave the bottom button unbuttoned.
  • White shirt with a straight point collar.  Only long sleeve please.  Never wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie. 
  • There is a rule that in serious business dress you wear a minimum of one pattern and two solids. (the elements are your suit, shirt and tie).  Men look great in tuxedos which are all solids!  So the recommendation for interviewing is a solid color suit and shirt and a patterned tie.   Loud shirts or ties will detract from one’s character and bearing. 
  • Ties   - Best choices are solid, stripes, or small patterns a an excellent color is burgundy or another serious color (avoid pink or yellow).   Even pattern ties should be limited to a maximum of three colors.  Small patterns in a tie are associated with the upper middle class and that is usually the group to which your interviewer belongs.  Repp ties (stripes) are acceptable to pretty much everyone.  Save the expensive “hip” ties for your try at glamorous creative jobs. 

You can wear the same suit for subsequent interviews if you change the tie  The tie should be long enough to reach your belt buckle, and don't forget the all-important dimple! (the indentation under the knot.)

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