Archive for the ‘Career & Job’ Category

The first impression you make on a potential employer is the most important one. The first judgment an interviewer makes is going to be based on how you look and what you are wearing. That’s why it’s always important to dress professionally for a job interview, even if the work environment is casual.

What’s the appropriate dress code for an interview? You’ll want that first impression to be not just a good one, but, a great one. The candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.

Men’s Interview Attire

  • Suit (solid color – navy or dark grey)
  • Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)
  • Belt
  • Tie
  • Dark socks, conservative leather shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat, professional hairstyle
  • Limit the aftershave
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

Women’s Interview Attire

  • Suit (navy, black or dark grey)
  • The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably
  • Coordinated blouse
  • Conservative shoes
  • Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets)
  • No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Neutral pantyhose
  • Light make-up and perfume
  • Neatly manicured clean nails
  • Portfolio or briefcase

What Not to Bring to the Interview

  • Gum
  • Cell phone
  • Ipod
  • Coffee or soda
  • If you have lots of piercings, leave some of your rings at home (earrings only, is a good rule)
  • Cover tattoos

Interview Attire Tips

  • Before you even think about going on an interview, make sure you have appropriate interview attire and everything fits correctly.
  • Get your clothes ready the night before, so you don’t have to spend time getting them ready on the day of the interview.
  • If your clothes are dry clean only, take them to the cleaners after an interview, so they are ready for next time.
  • Polish your shoes.
  • Bring a breath mint and use it before you enter the building.

 

What your clothes say about you

In an interview your attire plays a supporting role.
Your conduct, your interpersonal skills and your ability to articulate intelligent and well thought out responses to questions are the most important elements.
Appropriate attire supports your image as a person who takes the interview process seriously and understands the nature of the industry in which you are trying to become employed.
Be aware that in some industries, customer contact and image presented to the customer is critical. In such industries, your attire will be judged more critically.
Your attire should be noticed as being appropriate and well-fitting, but it should not take center stage.
If you are primarily remembered for your interview attire, this is probably because you made an error in judgment!
Dressing nicely and appropriately is a compliment to the person you meet, so if in doubt, err on the side of dressing better than you might need to.
Even if you are aware that employees of an organization dress casually on the job, dress up for the interview unless you are specifically told otherwise by the employer.
Never confuse an interview or business function with a social event. Don’t dress for a party or a date.
Not every contact with an employer requires interview attire. For some occasions business casual is appropriate. See business casual for when to wear it and what it is.
Changes in fashion may change some things, like the width of lapels, the cut of pants, or the colors of blouses available in the stores. Basic professional attire does not change with the whims of fashion. A good suit should last five to ten years, depending on its quality, how hard you wear it, how well you care for it, and if it continues to fit you well. You can express fashion’s whims in your off-the-job clothes, and to some extent in your accessories.

Interview attire guidelines for men and women
Suit:
A two piece matched suit is always the best and safest choice.
What if the JOB is in a NON-SUIT-wearing WORK ENVIRONMENT:
Even if you would or could wear jeans on the job, or the work environment is outdoors and very non-suit, wearing a suit to the interview shows you take the interview seriously as a professional meeting. Dressing well is a compliment to the person(s) with whom you meet. If you think the industry in which you’re interviewing would frown on a suit, or the interview will involve going to a work site where a suit would be inappropriate, look for advice through professional organizations, your professors who have been employed in that industry, and/or by asking the employer directly and politely. One alternative is to wear pressed pants (like khakis) and a dark jacket; less formal than a suit, but still business-appropriate for both men and women.
Conservative colors / fabric:
Navy, dark gray (and black for women) — are safe.
Other color trends may come and go; avoid the extremes.
Solids or very subtle weave patterns or plaids (the kind that look solid across a room) are safest.
Wool, wool blends, or other good quality natural and synthetic fibers, are generally the best fabrics in all seasons. Avoid lower quality acetate / rayon blends.
Cost / quality:
You are not expected to be able to afford the same clothing as a corporate CEO. Do invest in quality that will look appropriate during your first two or three years on the job. One good quality suit is sufficient for a job search if that is all your budget allows. You can vary your shirt/blouse and tie/accessories.
Details:
Everything should be clean and well pressed.
Carefully inspect clothes for tags, dangling threads, etc.

Additional interview attire specifics for men
Suit:
A two-piece matched suit is always the best and safest choice. Don’t combine a suit jacket with pants that don’t match. Not a suit environment? See guidelines above.
Conservative colors / fabric:
Navy and dark gray are safe and are the most conservative for men. Black for men was once considered severe or overly formal, and may still be considered so in very conservative industries, although it is commonly worn by many. Other color trends may come and go; avoid the extremes. Choose a solid or very subtle weave pattern or plaid (the kind that look solid across a room). Wool, wool blends, or very high quality natural and synthetic fiber blends are acceptable fabrics for a conservative men’s suit.
Cost / quality:
You are not expected to be able to afford the same clothing as a corporate CEO. Do invest in quality that will look appropriate during your first two or three years on the job. One good quality suit is sufficient for a job search if that is all your budget allows. You can vary your shirt and tie.
Ties:
Tie styles come and go. Select good quality silk ties.
Avoid fashion extremes, like character ties, in interviews.
Notice what men in your industry wear on the job, at career fairs, at information sessions, when they meet with clients.
Shirts:
Long-sleeved shirts, even in summer. Choose white or light blue solid, or conservative stripes. A dark shirt might be acceptable in a non-conservative industry. Avoid being trendy.
Socks:
Dark socks, mid-calf length so no skin is visible when you sit down.
Shoes:
Leather, lace-up or slip-on business shoes, preferably black or cordovan. Invest in a good pair; even if you don’t wear them daily on the job, you’ll need them for other occasions and you should expect to get lots of years out of good shoes.
Belt:
Black or cordovan leather, to match your shoes.
Facial hair:
If worn, should be well-groomed. Observe men in your industry if you are unsure what’s appropriate or are considering changing your look.
Jewelry:
Wear a conservative watch. If you choose to wear other jewelry, be conservative. Removing earrings is safest. For conservative industries, don’t wear earrings. Observe other men in your industry to see what is acceptable.
Details:
Everything should be clean and well pressed. Suits typically have tacking stitches to hold vents — on the jacket back and on sleeves — in place before the garment is purchased. Cut them off if your retailer / tailor doesn’t. And that tag stitched on the outside of your sleeve is not meant to stay there like a Tommy Hilfiger label — cut it off! Carefully inspect clothes dangling threads, etc.

Grooming tips for everyone
Hair:
Should be clean and neat.
Shoes:
Should be in polished condition. Make sure heels are not worn.
Details:
No missing buttons, no lint; and don’t forget to remove external tags and tacking stitches from new clothes.
Hands:
Clean fingernails.
Fit:
Clothes should be clean, neatly pressed, and fit properly.
Smell:
Perfume or cologne should be used sparingly or not at all. Remember that some people have allergies/sensitivities; you’d hate for that to derail an interview. No odors in clothes. Don’t smell like smoke.
Pad folios:
Preferred over a bulky briefcase. A small briefcase is also appropriate. But if you have no reason to carry a briefcase, don’t; you risk looking silly.
Book bags:
Leave it at home for an on-site interview. For an on-campus interview, you can leave it in the waiting area.