We have all felt the night before an interview jitters. Maybe you’ve been jobless for a while and this is your big break, or you’re looking for a career change and the opportunity presents itself. Either way, you’re trying to make a good first impression. So you do the routine of researching the company so you can ask questions (3-5 is good) and rehearse answers to commonly asked questions like, “What is your biggest strength?” or “Tell me a time you gave exceptional customer/client service.” You may not have control on the flow of the interview, but you one area you do have absolute control is how you present yourself by the way you dress.
Perception is reality to a lot of people and they draw conclusions on you based on what they see before they get to know you. Everyone judges, just be on the good side of it.
When I was younger, I literally got the job at JCPenny before I even sat down based on how I dressed and it wasn’t much–just a shirt, tie and pants. But that stood out in a sea of interviewees wearing t-shirts and cargo shorts.
Here’s more motivation to dress appropriately for an interview. It can affect the job you want, which in turn, affects your pay. Let’s break down decent and acceptable attire to wear to a job interview that will land you the job.
Suited and booted.
Can’t go wrong with a suit, and for summer, opt for a light cotton suit. Personally, I’d stay away from other summer friendly fabrics like linen or seersucker unless you’re going for a fashion job and you want to show them your understanding of fabrics.
Colors? Navy blue, charcoal grey, or light grey. No patterns, and definitely NOT BLACK. Save your black suits for black tie events and funerals. Besides, they aren’t as versatile as the other colors. It’s the summer and black attracts heat. You don’t want to be all sweaty before the interview starts.
Keep the shirt simple and plain either in white or blue. The tie doesn’t have to be too busy, and same with the pocket square. You’re not there to show them how fly you are. Just be professional. You can be professional and show your personal expression. Go for a muted pattern tie and a simple pocket square. As much as you want to be presentable, you want them to focus on what you have to say. When it comes to the pants, you can go cuffed or uncuffed.
Oxford shoes go well with suits because of the formal nature of them, but in USA, it is common to see suits and derby shoes or monk straps. One area you can stretch a little bit and have fun are your socks! Don’t go for way too busy designs, but rather go with a simple argyle or a sock with a message so you can have another conversation piece (please believe they will be eyeing you from top to bottom, so if you have interesting socks, it can be used to break the ice and see your personality).
There is something about wearing a suit in general that boosts your confidence in every area–from speech, to walk, to overall demeanor. Stack the chips highly in your favor with a well-tailored suit and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression.