Oh, look! Another blog post from Glover & Associates! What do you think it’s about? Did you say something about interviews? Good job! Of course, it’s in the title, so it’s not like it was hard to guess. Plus, we write A LOT about interviews (hey, they say write what you know, and as a staffing firm in Pittsburgh, we know about interviews).
What To Wear To An Interview
But today, we’re not telling you how to prep for a phone interview, or how to talk about salary in an interview, or what not to say in an interview, but rather what to wear for the face to face interview. You might think this is common knowledge, but it’s amazing how many applicants come into our offices downtown dressed like they’re heading to the mall. Unless you plan to get a job at Taco Bell, you need to dress a little better.
First rule of thumb is Always Over Dress. Well, that’s the rule of thumb for people who are applying for the type of job that would make them read this article. Unless you are specifically told not to wear one, wear a suit.
If you don’t have a suit, slacks, dress shirt and tie are the minimum. This is pretty standard. Even tech guys wear a tie to an interview. Dress one level above the person interviewing you. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.
The best color suit for the initial interview is charcoal gray. It works with most every skin tone and is a nice neutral color, and won’t distance the interviewer. Match it with a plain white shirt to for the classic professional business look. Then finish it with a dark colored professional tie. If it has to have a pattern, keep it small. If you don’t have a matching suit, don’t wear a sport coat in lieu of a suit coat. It’s not the same.
For the second interview, it’s ok to show a little personality. Put some color in your wardrobe; maybe wear a suit with stripes or some design and a nice solid colored shirt in blue, grey or purple. If you really want to class it up a bit, add a pocket square. It’s a sure sign you know your men’s fashions. No, it doesn’t need to match your tie. But it should match your shirt!
Truth be told, if you have a professional career, you should expect to drop a minimum of $500 a year into your wardrobe. Although depending on what’s already in your wardrobe, it might be considerably more up front. Whether that money goes into shoes, shirts belts, etc doesn’t matter. Just keep your wardrobe fresh. If it’s more than ten years old, consider donating it.
A Few Final Tips to Consider
If you want to look your best, get your suit tailored. Suits can look very sloppy when they aren’t tailored to your body. Even a very cheap suit can look very nice on someone if they have it tailored specifically to them. And while it might sound expensive to have the alterations made, it really isn’t, and the benefits more than make up for the price.
Sometimes, you’ll be told to come in dressed business casual. That still doesn’t mean to break out the shorts. It just means you can lose the coat and tie. If you really want to push it, you can wear a polo shirt. But you’re still wearing slacks and khakis. Never, ever wear jeans to any kind of interview.
And last, but not least, don’t forget to shine your shoes. No matter how down on your luck you are, a can of shoe polish is only a few dollars.
P.S. If you have visible tattoos or piercings, cover them up for the interview.