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Keep it Simple: What to Wear to Your Interview

Keep it Simple: What to Wear to Your Interview

What to wear and what not to wear on your job or grad school interviews.

Marky Stein | Careerealism

September 16, 2011


Shoes: Hard-soled, hard-toed. The best colors are black or brown.

Ties Conservative: black, brown, navy, or red. A solid color or a simple pattern is best. Avoid ties that are too wide or too narrow. No potentially distracting artsy or modern patterns. No pastels or flashy colors. No bow ties.

Suits Matching: business suits are best. If you do not have a tailored, well-fitting business suit in gray, black, navy blue, or brown, you may, as a second choice, wear pants (other than jeans) with a shirt, tie, and complementary jacket.

Shirts: The only type of shirt acceptable for men at a job interview, in my opinion, is a button-down shirt with a collar. White or light blue, or a shirt with very narrow and light pinstripes is best. T-shirts and turtlenecks are too casual, however tempting it may be to wear them.

Jewelry: Avoid wearing more than one ring per hand. Don’t wear a pinky ring.

Scents: Other than the soap from your shower and (preferably) unscented deodorant, do not wear any colognes or aftershaves. It’s surprising what a strong reaction people have to scents! They either love them or hate them. Don’t take the chance you might be wearing the same cologne as her ex-husband!

Hair: Again, the rule of thumb is conservative. No matter what the length or style of your hair, it’s worth investing a few bucks for a haircut before stepping into the competitive world of interviewing. Do not wear a hat. If you have long hair, tie it back neatly, or consider, for now, having it cut.

Interviewers prefer less rather than more hair on both your head and your face. I had a client who had absolutely no job offers until he shaved off his shaggy beard. When he got a job (soon after shaving), he sure missed his beard, but he didn’t complain about earning $80,000 a year!

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