There are eight things men must know about job interview dress code.
In the United States (and most of the countries) it means a two-piece suit with two or three button, regular flap pockets single breasted jacket with a notched lapel, and a single or double back vent. Such suit jacket is shown on the pictures below.
When standing, suit jacket sleeves should show one inch of shirt cuffs; lapels should lie flat, buttoning of the jacket should not be too tight. Jacket shoulders should not extend past yours. The back length can be decided this way:
Standing straight, try to grab with your hands (without bending or anything) the backside of the jacket; perfect if you can, if you cannot do that without either moving hands up or bending down than the jacket is too short as in the former case, or too long as in the latter.
Neck collar of the suit should lay flat showing three to four inches of a collar of your dress shirt, and form no bunches.
Lapels, sleeve buttons, pockets
Do not go for trendy thin lapels if you want to wear the suit you are buying a year after and, perhaps, even longer than that. Such lapels are nothing but a dernier cry, which will quickly go out of fashion.
The number of cuff buttons should be at least as many (usually, four) as those on the front of jacket. Make sure to tug all the buttons and check the sewing by pulling the seams (not too hard!). Of course, a left breast pocket must be present on the front of a jacket.
Fabric, color and pattern
A lot of men do not pay attention to a shirt they wear thinking of it as of something that must be good, nice looking and neat only in a few parts, namely collar and cuffs.
Well, these might be the only visible ones, however the importance of a properly selected and fit shirt should not be overestimated.
There is a great variety of dress shirts’ shirt fabrics, weaves and colors offered on the market. A rule of thumb is that a shirt should be chosen to complement your suit and a tie.
While, a classic white broadcloth shirt can match almost any suit-tie combination, it is especially good for toning down a bright (striped) suit. In order to make an ordinary solid-color suit brighter feel free to choose a striped herringbone or pink oxford dress shirts.
In general, you may want to choose a unique fabric weave (twill or herringbone) in a soft color to spice up and individualize your look, but make sure the color is not too bright though.
Also, consider the fact that seasons (of a year) also play a role in people’s color perception and thus should be accounted for when deciding a shirt color.
A shirt with a particular collar should be chosen according to a shape of one’s face since it, so to say, frames it.
If your face is thin and long, choose a spread collar. For those whose face is round or who has wide body type, the best bet would be a classic point collar.
To check if a shirt and collar you have chosen fit properly, wear a shirt, button it up and put your two fingers in-between a buttoned collar and your neck. There should be just as enough space as to fit them.
Cuffs with one or two buttons are a good selection for a job interview.
Cufflinks can be regarded by some interviewers as obnoxious, so it is better to avoid wearing them unless you do that all the time and just have no shirt with buttons.
Sleeves and cuffs should go right to the top of your hands with one inch of shirt cuff showing from under your jacket sleeve.
4. Neck tie
Saying about a neck tie color, your best bet for a job interview is the most conservative (or classic) one. Such ‘classic’ colors are burgundy, navy blue or green.
If you consider yourself experienced in tie selection and have a good taste for tie colors, you can try different colors or ties with patterns, however, it is important to remember that a tie must complement the entire outfit and that the pattern and quality are what really matters in it.
Ties with simple repeating patterns can be good for a job interview as long as those patterns are as simple as possible.
Obviously, ties with Homer Simpson, Christmas trees, or reflective colors must be left to be worn on their respective occasions as an interviewer may not appreciate such a ‘great taste’ and/or sense of humor.
Striped ties in certain countries (England for example) may traditionally represent an association with a certain club (a military club, boys club, school etc.), and thus you should make sure that by wearing such a tie you will not be putting yourself into an awkward situation on a job interview.
Although ties made of natural silk can be more expensive, it is highly advise to wear one of those on a job interview. Synthetic ties may be cheaper, but they never look the same way as silk ones do.
Knot (How to tie a tie?)
A knot type to use on an interview will depend on a shirt collar you chose, as well as on the type of the tie and your own face structure. If you do not know what is your ‘perfect match’ , you just cannot go wrong with a Half-Windsor knot.
There is a number of different types of men’s dress shoes.
However, a pair of black round-toed shoes known as Oxfords, a classics of men wardrobe, remains the best selection for a job interview.
Such dress shoes come with either closed or open lacing.
Slip-ons of any kind must be avoided.
They are okay for business casual style and also great for traveling, but look absolutely unprofessional being worn on formal events and thus unacceptable for a job interview.
Evidently, the shoes should be neat and well-polished – no going on an interview right after winning in a rodeo!
Your socks should match the trousers and/or shoes and be possibly solid and dark in color. The rule of thumb here is that socks must not draw people’s attention.
If and when seen, socks should appear as seamlessly flowing between your slacks and shoes.
When it comes to jewelry, the main thing to remember is that the simpler and less of it – the better. Wedding rings, of course, are always acceptable.
Another ring or two are fine unless it is a seal-ring with a huge shiny diamond or scull on it (shown in a photo on the left).
Anyway, it is better to keep jewelry at minimum especially when you are not aware of interviewer’s particular tastes and standpoint on this issue.
Earrings and piercings
The rule ‘the less is the better’ is valid for all the types of jewelry including various nose rings, piercings and earrings. If you think you will not be able to withstand an interview without wearing one of those, remember that each piece of such jewelry sends a certain message to the interviewer (whether positive or negative).
It definitely will, in one way or another, affect their impression of you even though that will not be told. Moreover, in some countries such look may be unacceptable.
It is not generally a smart thing to sell you car to buy a hand-made Vacheron Constantin with a huge diamonds in a dial. Again, the simpler – the better. Just one addition – quality here matters a lot.
Thus, avoid wearing digital, sporty watches, as well as those overwhelmed with various dial plates, huge tachymeters, world time zone plates etc.
It is better to use a watch with a leather band, but in the United States a metal one is acceptable too.
A belt should be made of leather and match the color and possibly the quality of leather on your shoes.
There should be no tracery on the belt and the buckle should be very simple, preferably without any ornament.
Although can be done without, business cards will furnish additional professionalism to your image.
Besides, business cards exchange is intrinsic to any networking event, which makes them an everyday necessity for every more or less serious professional.
Finally, you can distribute them once and every time you need to provide someone with your contact information, even when not in formal environment, instead of writing that on a shred of paper.
College students or recent graduates are often able to order business cards at their university/college career office.
There are also a number of companies that offer custom business cards for free or at a quite modest price.
Make sure to turn the ringer on your mobile phone off for the duration of an interview. You should not want anything to have your job discussion interrupted. An interviewer wants that to occur even less.
Should you need to carry a laptop or documents (a resume, references etc.) with you to an interview, a black briefcase or portfolio would be a means of transportation for them.
Do not even try to use your old good duffel bag that ordinarily carries your gym wear or a backpack that was proved so comfortable while hiking the Appalachian trail last summer.
Even so-called business packs (backpacks) are definitely mauvais tone on a serious formal event including a job interview.
Those can be used in a casual business environment, but they are unlikely to impress your interviewer.
All the advice provided in this article may sound really trite and simple, but it is striking how many men fail to follow these simple eight rules. If only recent graduates and inexperienced, young professionals were the case, that would be understandable.
However, sometimes one may see a respectable businessman in his 40s wearing a fancy blue reflecting tie with little mermaids (which might have been a gift from his daughter) on a highly formal event.
Such neglect of the basic rules of formal etiquette not only diverts but also shows disrespect to the people around, and thus could easily cost such ignorant person a job (or a potential job), important deal or good relationships.
Whereas following these rules multiplies the benefits of just being dressed nice and neat by attracting (in a good sense) people’s attention and getting their favor, finding a better (or a new) job and raising own motivation and self-respect.