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Dressing for Success at Job Interviews for Men

According to psychological studies, when someone gets up to speak to a room full of people, an incredible 75% of the interest they generate in the first few minutes is entirely dependent on whether they look like they are worth listening to.

Put that into an interview situation and your chance of landing that job is well on the way to being decided before you utter a word.

The message is simple, you need to dress for success.

 Dress for the Part

One of the best pieces of advice when it comes to deciding what to wear to an interview is to remember to dress for the job that you want not the job you currently have. According to recruitment specialist Essential Personnel, many applicants do not pay enough attention to this simple and maybe sometimes overworked but essentially true, cliché.

Turning up in a pair of jeans for an office job is the quickest way to fail the interview process before you even start. The one exception to this rule might be in the creative arts field where if you wear a suit you might not be considered “artsy” enough.

Here’s a simple test:

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s position. Which of these three guys would you hire?

Dress for Success

If you have nothing but looks to go on but which one would you pick?

Think carefully, Why would you pick him? Here are a few things to consider.

What about the open collar on the first guy? The hand in the pocket? The briefcase? No Tie? The beard?

What impression does the blue tie on the second guy make? What about the Pinstripe suit? The Beard?

How about the jeans on the third guy? Sunglasses? What about the open jacket? No beard?

A lot may depend on the position you are applying for and some other considerations are not as easy to change. Unfortunately being overweight can make you look sloppy and some people perceive overweight people as lazy, so that is just one more reason to keep fit. Often beards give a negative impression, even if they are neatly trimmed. A red tie gives a more favorable impression than a blue one. Pinstripes are preferred over solid colors. Sunglasses make you look “shady”. Are your shoes polished and in good condition? Hopefully you’re not wearing sneakers!

This is the difference a first impression makes.

Don’t Over Dress

There is often a fine line between dressing very smartly and giving the impression that you are too affluent, so you are not hungry enough for the job you are going for. Gold monogrammed cufflinks and handmade shoes send out the right signals in a big boardroom presentation for a top job but tone it down according to the level of job being applied for.

Neutral Colors are Better

Unless you are applying for a job as a clown or comedian… novelty ties and loud shirts will certainly get you remembered but for all the wrong reasons. Neutrality when it comes to dressing for an interview is usually the best policy. Just think about the job you are applying for and wear what you would expect to be wearing on a daily basis if you got offered the job (or perhaps a bit nicer).

Do the Research

A great way of getting a feel for the company who are interviewing you and the staff that already work there is to consider going on a reconnaissance mission one lunchtime and see what the staff are wearing when they come out of the office for lunch.

Don’t do your discreet spying on a Friday though, as some companies have a casual dress policy then and you may get entirely the wrong idea for what to wear when you go for your interview on any other day.

Attention to Detail 

Remember that not only do first impressions count for a lot but also during the interview you may find yourself being scrutinized discreetly to see whether you have a good eye for attention to detail.

Make sure that your socks match the colour of your trousers and the shoes are the right colour too, but don’t overdo it, pocket squares only go down well in certain circles.

Black and white

A couple of other tips to bear in mind are that black suits are not as good an idea as grey or navy, which are generally more complimentary to skin tone. A white shirt will always be a better choice than a coloured shirt and is one of the little secrets that helps you to dress for success.

Take the time to create the right impression with what you are wearing and you are far more likely to be working where you want to after the interview.

See Also:

Image Matters For Men: How to Dress for Success! AskMen.com Presents The Style Bible: The 11 Rules for Building a
Complete and Timeless Wardrobe
Esquire The Handbook of Style: A Man’s Guide to Looking Good Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview?

 About the Author:

Steven Pearson is a recruitment consultant. He enjoys sharing his ideas and knowledge on various career blogs.

Images courtesy of Imagerymajestic and StockImages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Jim Strutzin says:

    Dress sense is truly a vital part of a job interview process because what you wear, and how you dress is the first thing an employer or hiring manager sees. The attire you put on reveals your whole personality and makes the right impression on the interviewer. A little research on the dress you should wear during the interview will surely impress the hiring manager.