how to dress men

How to Dress For a Job Interview (Men)

You’re ready for the interview. You’ve got the skills, the experience, and a list of industry connections that people would kill for….but do you look like someone whom this employer wants representing them to the world? You’re in Sales, so you should already know that image and perception are everything. Make no mistake; anything that’s a little ‘off’ about your appearance or your attire will be noticed and taken into account. Old shoes? Frayed cuffs? Collar too tight? Missed a couple spots shaving? Raggedy fingernails? If so, I guarantee you won’t get the job. Here’s why; you missed the details, and either didn’t notice or thought it wouldn’t matter. That’s all the employer needs to know about you. See, by presenting yourself in the most impeccable way possible, you’re telling the employer that you are aware of these crucial nuances and that you know how to play the game. I can not stress how important this is.
So, we’re going to clue you in to some of these crucial elements and give you the basics of dressing for an interview. Read and learn….

  • Do your homework on the company you’ll be interviewing with. Familiarize yourself with their standard dress code. If you don’t know anyone who works there, spend the time to stake out the front door to find out what current employees wear on the job, then make sure you look slightly better than that for your interview.
  • Don’t ever borrow clothes for an interview. If you don’t own a suit and you’re interviewing at a company where that’s their standard attire, it’s time to invest in one, and don’t skip the tailoring. The psychological aspect of this is if you look uncomfortable or awkward in your clothes, it won’t be attributed to your clothes; it will be attributed to your personality. Don’t let this happen.
  • Never wear casual clothing to an interview for a Sales position. Even if khakis and a polo shirt are the uniform for the sales team, you do not go to the interview that way. Again, it’s about showing the prospective employer that you know how to play the game.
  • If you will be working in a very casual industry (the trades, recreation, etc.); wear dress slacks and a dress shirt to the interview. You may skip the tie, and we recommend you always wear a jacket to an interview, but it can be a sport coat if that is more suited to the occasion.
  • For a formal or traditional industry (banking, insurance, pharmaceuticals, etc); always wear a suit and tie. We prefer a darker suit with black shoes, but if the weather allows you to wear something lighter, never go lighter than a camel color, and wear brown shoes.
  • Never wear shoes that are lighter than your pants. Brown shoes with a grey pant is a huge no-no.
  • Polish your shoes the night before your interview. Scuffed leather, cracked soles and dusty uppers is another psychological cue to your interviewer that you miss the details and they will perceive you as sloppy.
  • Avoid strong cologne or aftershave. A lot of people are very sensitive to scents and if they smell you coming down the hall, the interview may be over before it even begins. Here’s a general rule of thumb for wearing cologne; spray one good squirt in the air then walk through the mist. That’s it! People should only be able to smell your cologne after a minute or so of standing right next to you. The scent should sneak up on people, not hit them like a ton of bricks.
  • Keep your accessories professional; remove the pinky rings and the bracelet. Those are for weekends. The only accessories that are acceptable interview attire for a man are a watch, cufflinks and a wedding band. Period. Your business accessories should be the same; take a clean, polished leather briefcase or portfolio, but keep it simple. Leave the funky vinyl and manila folders at home; this isn’t college.
  • Make sure your hair is neat; not too much product, not too wild but not too stiff.
  • Leave your ego at home. If you have pierced ears, are known for your flashy jewelry, or get compliments all the time on your cologne, you need to get over yourself and remove these things before you go to your interview. The point is to dazzle them with your professionalism, your industry knowledge, your social skills and your comfort in stressful situations. You will not dazzle them with your individuality, your trendy fashions or your trademark ‘look’. Get the job first and then work your own personality back into your look.
  • Always visit the restroom before you walk into the lobby and announce yourself for your interview; check that your tie is straight, your teeth are clean, your hair is groomed and your cuffs are pulled out of your jacket by about ¾ of an inch. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly so they don’t feel clammy or sticky when you shake hands.

Now go get that job!