What to Wear – Men

 

After interviewing countless college and graduate candidates over the last 20 years, and being asked so many times to define what the proper business attire for an interview should really look like, I decided to add these pages. Hopefully, this will help guide you as you decide on the combination that will make you look your best.
 

Please keep in mind that these suggestions are very brief and they are by no means “etched in stone” or exhaustive on this subject, so use your judgment. I’ve rescued quite a few students who, after attending career workshops, were given fairly good advice on the color of business suits to wear, etc., only to realize they had assembled the wrong style of clothing. Not all suits, shirts,and shoes are appropriate or ideal, even if they come in the right color.
 

So, with this in mind, take a look at the suggestions I provide and use them as a guide. Adapt it to your style and dress code in the industry you are targeting, but always remember, when in doubt, always go a bit more conservative. You can wear all your other cool clothes on the weekends, but during interviews avoid getting the wrong kind of attention, or sending the wrong signals. Also, avoid rings (unless it’s a class ring), bracelets, and earings.
 

Be your best, and always look your best for an interview.
 

 

Suits

Job Interview Attire

 

The standard dark navy blue suit and charcoal gray suit are very safe choices and they always look very professional – you can’t go wrong with either one. Make sure the suit is properly sized to your body. The wrong size suit or cut, can look awkward and it might make you stand out for the wrong reason.

Job Interview Suit Fabrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, stick to the dark colors. Subtle pinstripes can look very good, but do avoid the very pronounced, chalk stripe suits – not the right look for a college graduate. Also, do not wear brown suits or any other light fabrics. It’s ok if you like those suits, but just don’t wear them on your interviews. This process is about creating the best image you can possibly put forth. The lighter colored suits just don’t project the powerful and professional energy that the darker suits do. Trust me on this one.
 

After joining a company, if you find that many people wear light suits and you like them, by all means, feel free to wear them.
 
One last suggestion – buy one good suit, not two or three lower quality ones. A quality suit projects the right image, and you’ll feel and look better in it.

 

 

Shirts

This is a simple one – stick to white shirts and only 100% cotton. It’s the cleanest, and sharpest look for an interview. After being hired, if different color shirts and patterned shirts are acceptable in your company, you’re free to introduce different shirts. For purposes of job interviewing, stick to white. Make sure your shirt is very well pressed. Personally, I recommend getting your interview shirts laundered and starched (on hangers) at your local dry cleaner. For under $2 a shirt, you can be absolutely confident that you’ll look your best. You can have a great suit, but ruin the whole look with a wrinkled or poorly pressed shirt.
 

Like the suit, make sure the shirt is properly sized for you. I have lost count of the number of candidates I’ve interviewed with an over-sized, loose shirt around their neck. It looks sloppy and no hiring manager wants to hire someone who couldn’t represent the company well by the way they dress. Furthermore, in the future you might be in a position where you get exposure to your employer’s clients, so you represent your company in the eyes of the client.
 

In more ways than one, you are giving the interviewer a “sample” of what they might get if they offer you a job.

 

 

Ties

Ties, can make or break the entire look. Focus on silk ties with small repetitive patterns with dark blues and deep reds or burgundy. You have a few examples below to give you a general idea. Find the style that suits you, but stay away from “loud” colors and very large prints.  Last but not least, never wear a tie with stains.  Borrow a tie, if you have to, but don’t wear it if it’s not clean and wrinkle free.

 

Job Interview Business Ties

 

In case you’re not sure how to make a tie knot, you can review this diagram. There are different types of knots, but rather than making this a confusing exercise, I kept it simple. This knot will work very well and I encourage you to practice it a few times until you know it well. The last thing you want is to be struggling with an uncooperative tie knot on the day of the interview. In case you are thinking of avoiding this challenge by getting a clip-on tie – Don’t. I can tell them apart from a real hand made knot, and so can any savvy interviewer. Don’t worry, with a bit of practice you’ll be able to do your tie half asleep. It doesn’t take long.
 

 

How to tie a tie

 

 

Belt

A simple black leather belt as shown here will serve you well.

Business Belt

 

Shoes

Any men’s shoe store offers you plenty of good choices for a presentable pair of black business shoes. My recommendation – buy a quality leather pair. They look good and make you look good. People do notice shoes and how well polished they are. A bad or dirty pair of shoes, again, leaves a bad message behind.  Polish them the night before.  No brown shoes on interviews.  Need I say more?

 

Business Belt

 
Last pieces of advice – turn your cell phone off. Don’t even put it on vibrate, just turn it off. You want to show the interviewer that you are very serious about the interviewing process, and at that moment, nothing is more important than your dialogue with that interviewer. If your phone rings in the middle of the interview, it could signal to the interviewer that you don’t take your job search seriously, so, Why should the interviewer believe that you would take the job seriously, if you got an offer? You see, every little detail matters, and you are being observed on every little nuance.
 

So, What should you do if the cell phone does go off? I’m sure you’re curious to know. There’s only one way to handle it – offer a very strong and convincing apology, and turn the phone off immediately, without looking at the phone to see who’s calling. Just turn it off fast, and you might have a chance of salvaging your interview.

No Cell Phone During Job Interview
 
Several candidates have asked me about after shave and cologne. Plain and simple – leave home without it. You might like the fragrance you wear, but someone else could really be bothered by its smell and intensity. Why take the risk? Don’t wear any fragrant lotions, after shave, or cologne during interviews.
 
In this highly competitive job market, corporate recruiters are looking for candidates that come across responsibly and very focused on the interviewing process. It’s the little things that can knock you out of the game.
 
 
 


 
 
 

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