Dressing for a job interview can be difficult – you don’t want to go too formal, or too casual. It’s an imprecise science, but we can offer you some general advice so you’ll make a great first impression. Whether you land that dream job or not, follow these tips and at the very least be ready for celebratory – or consolatory – drinks immediately after.
The first thing your interviewer is going to see is your shirt, so make it count. A white shirt runs the risk of being too plain, and anything too dark will generate a negative impression. A light colored shirt will communicate a positive attitude to a potential employer, and a pale blue shirt will match almost every jacket in your closet. If the interview is more casual, you might feel more confident adding a sweater, or going with a patterned shirt, but stay simple with colors and patterns.
In a more relaxed office environment, you might be able to get away with a pair of khakis, or even a nice pair of jeans, but we’re not all so lucky. If you’re unsure, khakis are a great compromise option. Get a decent pair that looks crisp and new. If you don’t know how to make your khakis look great, you can always ask your mom *winks*. Remember though, when wearing khakis or slacks, you must tuck your shirt in.
The old standard, a suit can almost never go wrong; even if its too formal for the interview, your potential employer still see’s you looking your best. Here are some tips for wearing a suit to a job interview:
– Never keep the suit jacket buttoned up while sitting – it’s not made for it, and will make you look awkward
– Don’t wear a brand new suit – you’ll look and feel stiff.
– Don’t button the bottom button on a suit jacket
– Finally, have your suit pressed beforehand to ensure you look your best
– Wristwatches should be worn on your off-hand
– Your shoes and belt should always match
– The metal on your body – cufflinks, belt buckle, tie-pin – should be coordinated
– A pocket square is always too formal in an interview setting
– If you’re unsure of the official policy regarding tattoos and jewelry, keep them out of sight and off your body.
The Interview Itself
Be confident, be polite, and be flexible. Make eye-contact, don’t give evasive answers, and don’t shuffle around too much. Most of all, give a good solid handshake. It can be difficult, but stick to a few simple tips. Only initiate a handshake after eye-contact has been made. Only offer your hand once your bodies are facing one another, and don’t leave it hanging too long if you’re shot down.
If you get into a handshake, mirror their actions, and begin to release after two pumps. You can never be too prepared, so check out the company online to get a sense of how they operate. Lastly, always follow up, it might be the hardest part when you’re in that state of uncertainty, but it keeps you in the employers mind and shows initiative; all in one quick call.
These are just some general guidelines, but one of the most useful sources of information can be the hiring officer. Don’t be afraid to ask what kind of clothing would be most appropriate for the interview, it’ll save you a lot of unnecessary worry. If you’re bad at keeping eye-contact, try using looking at the spot just above the interviewer’s eyes. But don’t stare them down – this is a job interview, not a duel.
Lastly, it takes a real man to accept his failures gracefully. If you don’t get the job, politely ask the employer why, and if they have any advice for you. Finally, always thank them for the opportunity and request they keep you in mind should another opening emerge. [EGuyed]