Your primary goal in dressing for an interview is to feel great about the way you look, while projecting an image that aligns with the requirements of the position and company for which you are interested in working.
The perceptual experts tell us we have 6 seconds to make a first impression. First impressions are extremely important. The way you present yourself can be as important as what you say. Use your best judgment, and always take into account the type of position for which you are interviewing.
The main thing to remember is that you want YOU to be the focus of the interview, not your “fashion sense” (whether it’s good or bad). What you are wearing will show your knowledge of the job, your sense of appropriateness, and your attention to detail. Wear attire that is “one step above” what you would be wearing for work.
A good tip when you are setting up the interview is to ask what the attire is for the office. All clothes should be clean and pressed.
Also, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be professional. You can make a good impression by paying attention to details and choosing your attire carefully. End-of-season shopping yields great deals on sale items. Shoppers of consignment, yard sales, and thrift shops often walk away with high quality, seldom or never worn clothes at bargain prices. Great for shoes and handbags too!
Here are some “interview fashion” tips just for the guys:
- Suits are not necessary for all job interviews but will almost always be a good choice. For a business-casual job, a neutral jacket would be a “step above.” For a job that you would be wearing jeans or a uniform for, khakis or simple dress slacks would be great.
- It is easier to slip a tie off and put it in your pocket than to wish you had worn one.
- It is easier to slip off a jacket if you think you are overdressed than to make one materialize if you see that others are wearing them.
- A plain white button-down shirt can work with any outfit. This should be worn with a short-sleeve t-shirt underneath.
- Dark socks, mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down, should be worn with well-polished shoes.
- Your belt color should match your shoes.
- No aftershave. Smell is the most powerful of the senses. You want all focus to be on YOU, not on how much someone else likes or dislikes your aftershave or who it reminds them of from their past. It also signals a possible lack of consideration for those around you if you would be working in close conditions with others.
- Hair should be neat and arranged nicely.
- Shave and trim any facial hair.
- Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. No jewelry except a watch and wedding ring.
- Nails should be trimmed and in good shape.
- All clothing should be checked for loose buttons, and dangling threads, and tags from newly purchased items.
- It is best to try on the clothes you are planning to wear the day before the interview to double check that everything is just how you want it to be.
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