Ask The Experts: Dressing For A Job Interview

Author: Zachary Lowell

How To Dress For a Job Interview

Like it or not, what you wear to a job interview can say just as much about you as your resume. Yet many job seekers stumble when it comes to putting together the right outfit when they’re interviewing for what could be their dream job, with disastrous results. So to give you a boost in this tough economy, we contacted a group of HR professionals, career coaches and image experts to get their advice on how to succeed with style when meeting a potential employer. Read what they have to say in their own words.

I’ve been a career coach for the past 20 years, so I may have some insight: [for men] the basic rule is dark blue, grey or charcoal solid or muted pin stripe 2-buttuon, with a white plain or moderately spread collar shirt, repp or solid color tie in red or gold… That said, all this will be modified by industry or geographic location… if you’re in retail, things should be a bit flashier; if you’re in banking, not. If you’re in entertainment, go wild! I would recommend no monogram. If I spot a monogram on the shirt of an interviewee, I wonder how ego-driven the candidate is. But again, this could be colored by location or industry.

Bud Whitehouse
Career Management of Virginia

I once had a candidate interview for the position of school director. I warned him that the COO [chief operating officer] of the non-profit which ran the school was adamant that all employees dress professionally and neatly… He traveled from Manhattan to Boston for the interview by train. Apparently he only brought one shirt with him… At one point he met all senior staff at once and the men all removed their jackets. His shirt was not pressed. Despite the fact that all the staff liked him the COO would not make him the offer because he looked “sloppy.” I always tell candidates to dress conservatively.  Regarding shirts that means white or light-colored solids. A black shirt or a shirt with stripes might cost someone an offer. It may be silly, but it’s true.

Bruce A. Hurwitz, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Hurwitz Strategic Staffing

Dressing more on the conservative side is always a safe bet. In a professional environment you always want to go with a suit, polished shoes, and subtle color of shirt. Men should always were a button up shirt with a collar and preferably a tie. Also, blue collar jobs such as construction and plumbing probably don’t require an applicant to wear a suit but a nice shirt, ironed pants and clean or polished shoes can go a long way even with a foreman!

Patricia Driscoll
Client Development Manager, Human Resources inc.

I am a former Fortune 500 recruiter and currently a career coach. Interview attire should match the industry, so media candidates for example have more leeway than financial services. That said, candidates in any industry should be neat, polished and professional. Regarding shirts specifically, watch for skin — we don’t want to see it! If men are wearing ties, it’s no problem. If not, make sure no chest hair is showing. As for shirt color, the most conservative is white, off-white, or light blue.  Stripe is ok if subtle; otherwise it can look too casual. Not a lot of men can carry pastel or dark colors well, so if you have any doubt, stick with the traditional white or light blue.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine
Career coach, SixFigureStart

The perfect interview shirt is one that is collared, button-down and, long-sleeved; constructed of extra long-staple cotton for strength, absorbency and durability with a touch of spandex for comfort. It may have French or button cuffs, though a gauntlet button is a must to ensure forearm coverage. Little extras such as mother of pearl cross-stitched buttons, hand-sewn buttonholes, hand stitching around the collar and cuffs and a flat front placket show superior craftsmanship in a dress shirt designated for interviewing. Monograms add a hint of flair to your look.

Lazandra Vega
Author, The Image of Success


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One Response to “Ask The Experts: Dressing For A Job Interview”

  1. derek says:

    treasurys@yonkers.petite” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!!…