Men's Guide on How to Dress for a Job Interview

By Walbert Castillo on August 14, 2014

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Do you have trouble deciding what to wear for your upcoming job interview? Well if you do, then you’ve come to the right place.

First impressions can go a long way, especially when it comes down to the way you appear in front of your employer. You want to be able to differentiate yourself from people who are working for the company and those who are “outside” of the workplace. Keep in mind that if you care about the way you look, the employer will see that you care about the job. These days people live by the motto, “look good, feel good” so if dressing up makes you feel good, it’ll certainly boost up that confidence level. The bottom line is clothes aren’t everything but the way you dress can go a long way, especially when it complements your outstanding personality.

1. Dress Shirt (Button-Up) 

According to the GQ Guide to Shirting, your dress shirt is “the first thing that you put on and your last line of defense.” If your job interview was treated like war, you should always be heavily equipped with the right gear.

Preferably, you want to make sure you wear a solid colored dress shirt. A dress shirt with a patterned design can potentially be flashy in the employer’s eyes, it may throw them off or distract them so it’s best to keep things simple as possible. When selecting your dress shirt, try to keep an eye out for straight collared shirts rather than button-down collars because they give off a more formal vibe. In addition, be sure to wear a long sleeve dress shirt because a short-sleeve button up is informal nonetheless in the eyes of an employer.

Another thing to keep in mind when opting for dress shirts is size. Ask yourself, how well does the dress shirt fit? You want to make sure your dress shirt is not too loose or tight, everything has to be just right. In terms of what color dress shirt to wear, it’s absolutely up to you but in my opinion, you should always go with your favorite color.Who knows? Maybe your favorite color is your employer’s as well.

2. Tie

Wearing a tie can earn you respect in the long run and bring a sense of professionalism to one’s individual aura. Although it may be arduous selecting the right tie to wear or which method to tie your tie, be sure to stay on top of your game.

Regular Tie vs. Skinny Tie 

Depending on what type of job you are applying for, it may be suitable for you to wear a skinny tie. Skinny ties may be popular in fashion but you aren’t going to a catwalk, you are going to a job interview. There’s a fine line between “looking good and feeling good” and it’s best not to cross that boundary. It is recommended to wear a regular tie at all times because it gives off a more professional look. For job interviews, you should stick with diagonal stripes, solids or minute patterned ties.

Does Color Matter? 

Depending on the type of color tie you wear, you can hint to your employer what kind of personality you have.

Red: A dominant color that symbolizes wealth, passion and victory. If you are going to wear a red tie for your job interview, be sure to express your overwhelming determination.

Blue: A serene color that symbolizes peace and persistence. If you are going to wear a blue tie for your job interview, be ready to express that you are a hardworking individual.

Yellow: A radiant color that symbolizes exuberance and creativity. If you are going to wear a yellow tie for your job interview, be sure to express your jovial and outgoing personality.

Black: A black tie should only be worn during formal events and special occasions.

How to Tie a Tie 

Here are some example YouTube videos on how to tie a tie correctly!

 3. Trousers (Pants) 

True or false?

Selecting pants isn’t as important as dress shirt and tie because employers only pay attention to what I’m wearing on top.

The answer is false. 

If you’re going to dress up for a job interview, you want to make sure you are presentable on both top and bottom. The recommended color of pants for a job interview is usually black.

Depending on the type of clothes you are wearing (shirt & tie), it can be appropriate to wear khakis in order to match the attire accordingly. Always make sure to wear fitted pants; they shouldn’t be tight, but rather trim. Well, how can I tell if these pants are too tight for me? According to WB Style, the “pockets and the front of the pants should lay flat.”

Don’t: 

  • Wear shorts.
  • Wear wrinkled pants.
  • Wear dress pants that don’t match the color of your suit.

4. Suit 

Wearing a suit isn’t mandatory but if you are applying for a higher-up position, you should definitely consider it. One thing to keep in mind is that no suit will truly fit you unless you get it personally tailored. Measurements can be everything, even to the slightest inch. You want to make sure everything fits just right.

In totality, the suit represents refinement, authority, practicality and class. As stated by Well Built Style, “For young men, it represents a transition from adolescence to manhood; for grown men, it solidifies his place in society.” Despite the fact that it may cost a little extra out of your pocket for a good quality suit, the investment will definitely be worthwhile. Also if you choose to wear a suit, it should be a solid, dark color such as black, navy or dark grey.

5. Shoes 

By looking at someone’s shoes, you can tell an awful lot about an individual and what type of personality that person has. You should consider wearing leather lace-up or slip-on dress shoes. If you are trying to figure out what color to wear, you should go with black, brown or cordovan.

Socks

  • Wear solid color socks (preferably black).
  • Wear socks that match your trousers.
  • Don’t wear socks that are too flashy in terms of patterned design.
  • Wear socks that don’t expose your bare skin.

 Last Minute Tips:  

  • If you’re grabbing a quick snack right before an interview, make sure not to stain your pants. For those who accidentally stain their pants, make sure to you use this on the go! 
  • Don’t forget to wear your favorite cologne!
  • Pop a mint in your mouth for good luck!
  • Always keep it 100 when going into an interview.
  • Lastly, believe in yourself because everyone else believes in you.

Tie Color – Learn the Meaning behind Each Color. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2014.

“Suiting.” Well Built Style. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug. 2014.

Search through the Uloop job listings to find your next Part-Time or Full-Time employment or Internship opportunity. Employers are waiting to hear from you!

I am currently a junior studying News-Editorial Journalism and minoring in Spanish and Global Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For my free time, I enjoy playing the piano, choreographing hip-hop dancing, taking photographs and traveling the world.

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