Interview Attire For Men, what to wear? A stressful question indeed, but one that is asked by thousands of job seekers every day. Sorry ladies, I am certainly not qualified to provide you with interview dress recommendations, so this article will focus on what a man should wear to a professional interview. The goal of this article is to provide men with a glimpse into what the interviewer on the other side of the table looks for in a candidate, specifically in their interview attire.
In my career thus far, I have spent a lot of time on both sides of the interview table. I have interviewed for positions with marketing, and investment management firms, and I firmly believe, no, I KNOW that my dress was the first point of evaluation. Why do I know this? Because I am now the interviewer at a major investment bank and dress is a major qualifying factor in an interview. As the adage goes, you have one chance to make a first impression, don’t screw it up! Ok, I added the last part, but you get the idea. If I see a person with an incredible background walk into an interview in sloppy clothing and generally unkempt, they start in a hole that’s VERY difficult to climb out of. Interview attire says a lot about a person. Make sure it’s saying good things about you. Granted, your ability to do a job and your dress have no positive correlation (unless we’re talking about face to face sales…but I digress). But perception is reality, so you want to be perceived as smart and capable, not lazy and dirty.
So now that we know how important interview attire for Men is, let’s go over what every man should have in their closet for interview day.
Number 1 – Plain Black Suit
This should be a staple in every man’s closet. It should be simple, modern, but not too modern and it should fit. I’m sure you’re thinking that the fit is a given, I mean, why would you buy a suit that doesn’t fit? Well, I’ve seen far too many people wearing suits that may or may not have been borrowed from their little/big brother. Go to a tailor and spend the money to have the suit tailored to your body type. It makes a world of difference, and speaks volumes about your personality. The custom tailored black suit needs to be a part of every man’s interview attire.
Number 2 – Plain White Shirt &/OR Plain Blue Shirt
Get yourself a nice plain white and plain blue button down dress shirt with a MODERN collar. Collar styles change with the wind, make sure you stay ahead of it. If you come into an interview with a drawn down collar ala Goodfellas, you might be in trouble. Spread collars have been in style for some time now, but you can’t go wrong with an in between spread and tight collar. Check out the photo below for a nice spread collar. A stylish collar will greatly enhance the look of your interview attire.
Number 3 – A Simple Tie
This isn’t the time to show your personality with you tie selection. Go with something simple, a solid red or blue would work well. Anything from the conservative side of the Brooks Brothers collection will do you just fine, but you can find great options from less expensive designers in any department store. Just keep it simple! Just make sure that the tie doesn’t clash with the shirt (which is hard to do if you follow rule Number 2 above) and you’ll be fine.
Number 4 – Dress Shoes
Pick shoes that fit your style, but make sure that they’re polished. Dingy shoes give off a bad vibe of laziness. Shoe polish costs $1.00 plus an old sock. Take care of it.
Number 5 – A Belt – A Dress Belt
Don’t go and mess up all of the good will that you have built up with your great suit, shirt, tie and shoes with the wrong belt. Belts should be there, but shouldn’t be noticed. Make sure your belt color matches your shoes, which should be black, and should match your jewelry scheme, which should be silver. If Gold comes back, adjust accordingly.
Number 6 – Black Dress Socks
Please, whatever you do, don’t show up with white socks on. Thanks.
Knowledge. Check. Interview Attire. Check. Now Go Get Em!