Dressing For Job Interviews
May 31st, 2005
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:
1.Wear a suit (it’s more serious than a sport coat).
2.Best colors are Navy or Charcoal Gray Single Breasted suit
3.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.
4.White shirt with a straight point collar. Only long sleeve please. Never wear a short sleeve shirt with a tie.
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.
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 and 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.
Suits: You can wear the same suit for subsequent interviews if you change the tie.
Tie length:The tie should be long enough to reach your belt buckle, and don’t forget the all important dimple! (the indentation under the knot).
Socks: should match your suit and not allow any skin to show when you cross your legs.
Trousers: should be long enough to cover your socks, and cuffs are a mark of a sophisticated businessman.
Belts:Leather belts with quiet, small belt buckles.
Shoes: One of the most important fashion factors, they are a strong statement of personality and executives (men and women!) notice shoes.
Grooming - Tips
1.No cologne (especially on your right hand, it rubs off when you shake hands)
2.Do check your breath.
3.Always have clean nails.
4.Never chew a gum (also a great tip for after you get the job)
5·Make sure you have a nice pen and carry it in the inside jacket pocket (not the shirt pocket).
6·Name tags go on the right (easier to read when you shake hands) although most people stick them on the left.
7.Hair longer than shoulder length for women and over the ears for men diminishes perception of authority, but increases a feeling of accessibility. So short hair for power, long hair for friendliness.