The job interview is an environment where preparation pays off. Your CV and work experience has got you through the front door, past umpteen other applicants and into the interview room. From here on in, it’s about how you present yourself, how you project your personality, and how competently and confidently you deal with the questions coming at you from the other side of the desk.
It’s also about how you look. Make no mistake, first impressions can be hugely significant and before you’ve even spoken a word in greeting, the interviewer – or interviewing panel – will draw certain assumptions from your appearance.
As this article in the Guardian states, it takes seconds for a complete stranger to formulate a positive or negative opinion on you based on your appearance alone.
It’s important to dress appropriately. So, what should a man wear for a job interview? Here are a few key tips to getting it right.
Dress for the role
Part of the challenge in wearing the right outfit lies with the job you’re applying for, and the company you’re applying to. You should have a decent idea of the culture of the business. If you’re going for a role at a digital media company, a work place full of creatives and geek chic techy types, you might expect their employees to dress in t-shirts, casual shirts, jeans and trainers. Don’t mimic that exactly but nod towards their dress code by teaming a smart blazer with a crisp shirt. Clearly, if it’s a job in the city, that won’t cut it. ‘Don’t even think about pulling on that old blue blazer with chinos for your interview in sales or finance,’ says this advice guide by ask men.
If in doubt play it safe
If you’re really not sure and don’t wish to make assumptions, don’t gamble. You’ll never be frowned upon for dressing smartly and suits never go out of fashion. Stay clear of three-piece affairs with waistcoats; that’s not interview attire. If you don’t have a decent suit, or have an old one that you think might dust off well, think about the image that will give off. Consider investing in a new one – Dobell have a great range of business suits.
Sensible colours & fabric
This isn’t the beach, or a cocktail bar on holiday. Wear a suit, or blazer in a dark, sober colour – black, charcoal grey, dark blue, light grey, royal blue are all perfect colours. Don’t rock up in a bright white or cream affair (actually that look doesn’t really suit any occasion – nearly 20 years on, Liverpool’s footballers are still trying to live these down. Don’t wear linen, even in the height of summer, for you’ll be riddled with creases before you even sit down, and DO NOT wear a shiny fabric. You’re not a game show host.
Tie – or no tie?
Completely up to you, and depends mostly on whether you feel comfortable with one on or not. Wearing a suit with a formal shirt open at the neck is smart enough on the majority of occasions. You can always carry one with you to put on if you see workers walking around the office building wearing ties while you’re waiting to be called. Two golden rules though. If you do wear a tie, a plain colour or discretely decorated with stripes, please – there’s no place in the world any longer for those awful novelty cartoon ties. If you do go without, only leave the top button of your shirt undone. Chest hair need not make an appearance.
Are jeans and trainers okay?
Jeans, possibly, if you’re confident the office environment endorses it – but only dark blue or black, and as smart as possible. No worker jeans, or boot cut, or anything slouchy with large pockets. Trainers are always a no-no in the interview room.