Monday, August 8, 2011

What to Wear to an Interview: The Be Dapper Way

The interview: one of the most dreaded and intimidating moments in most men's professional careers.  Whether you're out of work and trying to immediately find a new job or are just exploring options, the interview is most likely the only face time you will get with a hiring manager before they decide on who will get a position.  Generally you're going to get between a half hour to an hour of time to speak with a prospective employer, which is why this first impression will be so important.  In my experience, I've known whether or not I wanted to hire someone within 5 minutes of speaking with them.  My guess is that most hiring managers would agree.  As such, it is incredibly important that the person you are interviewing with has a good first impression of you.  That first impression will be how you look, for better or worse.  And believe me, if you show up underdressed or look like you just bought a suit off the $99 rack, your chances of landing that job will drop like a rock.  Today I'm going to go over what you should be wearing to an interview to give a stunning first impression.

Leave the Black Suit at Home

First off, always wear a suit.  Always.  Even if the workplace is casual or the job is not in an office environment, no interviewer is going to look down on the fact that you dressed well.  However, showing up in slacks and a button up with no tie might send the wrong impression or not be appropriate for that position.  Moving on: black suits are great, they are bold without even expressly being so and work with a variety of colors and patterns.  However, your black suit is not your interview suit, not even your business suit.  Save your black suit for evenings out or dinner parties.  For an interview, you should be wearing a navy or charcoal suit.  I recommend navy, as it displays a refined level of style sense and professionalism.  Keep it single breasted, with a notch lapel and preferably two buttons. Patterns, if any, should be subtle.

Navy Suit with Brown Shoes | Freshly Educated Men

This is an Interview, Not a Fashion Show

You may have a very extensive wardrobe with many fashion-forward pieces and accessories, however this is not the time to wear your lime green knit tie and boat shoes.  If what you're wearing is getting noticed by an interviewer more than what you are saying, there is a huge problem.  For your shirt, go with white or light blue and no french cuffs, you're not an exec (yet.)  Your tie should be dark and muted, no bold patterns or colors, and include a tie bar.  Wear simple lace-up oxfords, preferably brown if you're wearing a charcoal or navy suit.  No accessories beyond a leather strapped watch, if even that.

The Perfect, Simple Accessories

Fail to Prepare and You Can Prepare to Fail

Just as you would research a company, their history, look at their website and prepare otherwise for a job interview, you should be preparing your wardrobe the day before as well.  Prepare your outfit, make sure it is what you want so you're not scrambling for a new tie in the morning.  Shine your shoes, there is a lot you can tell about a man by his shoes.  Remove any stray strings or thread from your suit and use a lint roller to remove any hair, dust or other debris.  Looking your best takes preparation, and there are few days more important than an interview to do so.

Charcoal Topman Suit | City Society

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.

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