For men, choosing the right clothes and accessories that make them look best and feel comfortable and confident could be tricky. Perhaps that’s why several men feel choosing appropriate clothes to wear for an interview is as nerve-racking as the interview itself.
Since first impressions count a lot and usually stick, wearing the right clothes is crucial to impress your interviewers. When deciding what to wear to an interview, you should find clothes and accessories that look good on you and fit the interviewing company’s style. Your choice can make all the difference when it comes to bagging “that” coveted job or missing it by a whisker.
The human brain makes a thousand computations during the first seven seconds the individual sees someone. This means within the first seven seconds your interviewers see you (and notice how you dress and walk through the door to reach them), they will be evaluating whether you are trustworthy, likable, and competent. Since first impressions about you are formed within those split seconds, you need to do everything you can to improve your chances of creating a positive impact and impression.
If you still believe clothes don’t matter, consider this: statistics indicate that 55% of first impressions are created by the way you dress and walk through the door when appearing for a job interview. As many as 65% of hiring managers said that when they needed to choose between two similar candidates, clothes acted as the deciding factor.
If you haven’t given a thought to what to wear to an interview, it’s time to focus on the clothes you choose and the accessories your pick. However, your choices shouldn’t be solely driven by your personal preferences.
You can visit the company’s website or even its office, if you can, to get relevant information about how its workforce dresses. Whether the people there wear smart casual dresses or strictly professional attires will help you choose your dress code for the job interview. In case of any doubts, you may even make a quick phone call to ask about their acceptable dress code.
Often, employers deliberately leave details related to their office attire out of their correspondence so they can assess the applicants on their own based on how they have decided to dress. If you feel anxious about your interview clothing choices and can’t figure out what would be a safe bet, the tips we are about to share can help.
Whether you are interviewing in a casual setting, applying for a post in a formal business setting, or trying to get hired for a hands-on labour role, this guide packs more than a few handy tips to help you sail through the interview and land your coveted job.
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Dress According to Your Interview Setting
Whatever be the nature of the job you are applying for, you should look presentable and neat. Additionally, you should let your personality shine through and act confidently. Typically, it’s wise to steer clear of loud clothing choices, such as shirts, ties, and shoes with bizarre characters or noisy patterns.
The next few sections talk about four different interview settings and offer tips on how to dress suitably for each one of them.
1. Formal Business Environment
Business formals are considered the standard interview dress code. If your desired company’s culture needs business formals, you should get it right. Here are some ways to dress properly for the interview to create a positive first impression:
- Choose a single-breasted, two-piece suit in dark, solid conservative colours like black, navy blue, or charcoal gray.
- You may even wear suits with small pinstripes.
- Make sure your suit fits you right. Its shoulder seams should end at your shoulder ends without creating any wrinkles.
- The sleeves of your suit should end just before the base of your hand.
- You should keep your suit buttoned when standing up and unbuttoned when you sit down.
- Pair your dark, solid-coloured suit with a white or light-coloured dress shirt.
- Opt for a conservative tie. Steer clear of bow ties or ties with weird or busy patterns.
- Wear well-polished dark shoes with matching socks.
- Don’t use strong cologne.
- Remove all body piercings and ensure all your tattoos are covered in case you have them.
2. Casual Business Environment
If you are interviewing for a position in a start-up or creative agency that typically has a more relaxed dress code and environment, you can chuck the suit. However, you shouldn’t sport a casual look, but a more relaxed and flexible version of business formal attire. In other words, a business casual dress code will work well in such an environment.
For instance, if you are seeking a job in the IT industry, adding a bit of personality to your outfit (say, with contemporary styles) will let you showcase a more energetic and dynamic side of yourself, which could make your employer see you as a forward-thinking person who fits in with the team well.
Wondering what should men wear to a job interview in such a setting? Here are some tips:
- Sport dark-coloured trousers or gray chinos that don’t have stains, holes, and lint.
- You could even wear dress slacks.
- Pair your dress slacks, trousers, or chinos with a belt.
- Wear a polo shirt or a button-down shirt with a collar.
- Avoid wearing jeans or shirts without collars.
- If you are interviewing in the colder months, wear a neutral-coloured sweater (black, brown, or navy blue) as it goes well with most shirt colours, including white.
- Choose dress shoes or leather shoes without any stains or scratches and ensure they are clean and well-polished.
- Wear matching socks.
- Steer clear of open-toed shoes.
- Shave to sport a clean look. If your hair is long, either get a haircut or tie it back.
- Remove body piercings, if any, and cover up all your tattoos.
3. Casual Environment
Interviewing for a job at a small boutique, café, or even a start-up with a casual setting can be tricky as they often have no set uniform or dress codes. If the company where you are interviewing does have a standard uniform, you can pick your interview attire accordingly so that it mimics the uniform.
Though you may feel tempted to go very casual in such interview settings, you should keep in mind that you will still need to create a good first impression and display the effort and time you have invested into your interview preparation. In case you are appearing for a casual interview, the following suggestions can help:
- Focus on presenting yourself as a polished professional.
- Dress in a long sleeve dress shirt, buttoned shirt, or collared polo.
- Wear chinos or regular khaki pants with a belt.
- Chuck the tie unless it’s part of your prospective employer’s regular uniform.
- Sport a casual loafer or dress shoes.
- Shave and ensure your hair is tidy and tame.
- Avoid wearing excessive or strong cologne.
- Trim and condition your beard to make it look healthy and well-styled.
- Remove any body piercings and cover all tattoos if you have them.
- Ensure your nails and trimmed and clean, especially if you are interviewing for a position in the hospitality sector.
4. Worker Environment
If you are about to appear in an interview for a position in a manufacturing plant, gym, or any other environment where you have to sweat it out or work outdoors all day, business formals won’t be an appropriate choice. But this doesn’t mean you should turn up for your job interview wearing your favourite band t-shirt and worn-out or ripped jeans.
You should ideally try to find what other employees wear at work and then choose your attire so you can dress just a little better. If you feel stuck and can’t decide what to wear for your interview, these tips could help:
- Choose your best jeans to wear with no worn-out patches, holes, or stains.
- Pair your jeans with a casual shirt, which could be a t-shirt in block colours or a polo shirt.
- Wear a belt with your jeans to maintain a professional image.
- Steer clear of wearing any shorts.
- Don’t sport shirts that are too tight, too revealing, or have graphics on the front.
- Ensure your hair is tidy and facial hair, if any, is well-groomed.
- Opt for closed-toed shoes, preferably in dark-coloured styles, such as black or brown.
- Avoid wearing a hat to the interview.
- Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to conceal body piercings or tattoos.
Don’t Forget to Try Your Interview Attire Before D-Day
This is vital for those who feel anxious about what should men wear to an interview. You should make sure to try your attire a few days before your interview to check if each item fits well. Remember – when your clothes make you feel comfortable, you will feel more confident.
Trying on a few different interview outfit options such as different colour combinations for your top and bottom wear or different styles of shirts, trousers, and jackets will also let you choose the ones that make you feel the best.
Choose Your Accessories Carefully
Just like the rest of your interview attire, your accessories shouldn’t distract the interviewer. Be it your watch, cuff links, tie, belt, or bag, you should choose them carefully to ensure they complete your professional look.
Though not everyone may feel carrying a bag is necessary, it will be a good choice because you can carry your resume and other application materials comfortably in it. A bag can also come in handy to put away items like your smartphone or headphones during the interview. When it comes to choosing a bag to carry to your interview, you can opt for a briefcase or slim messenger bag in a neutral colour.
Keep Your Interview Outfit Ready
It’s essential that you choose appropriate interview attire and ensure you look presentable wearing it so you can make a positive first impression. In the days leading up to your job interview, you should clean and iron your clothing items. Some men may consider these minor details but they are crucial things that make you appear more professional and organised to prospective employers.
The night before D-Day, it will help to lay your clothes out. This way, you can get easy and quick access to them in the morning. By planning and preparing your job interview outfit in advance, you won’t feel rushed or anxious to choose what to wear or take last-minute decisions that may jeopardise your otherwise carefully planned look.
Once you have got the call to appear for a job interview, you should do everything necessary to live up to your potential employers’ expectations. Dressing professionally and presenting your confident self is one of the crucial steps to getting closer to that dream job.
We hope the tips mentioned above will help you select your interview attire and shine on your D-Day. Go ahead and make yourself proud by cracking the interview.
Here’s wishing you good luck!