Interview Attire – Tips for Gentlemen

How you dress and present yourself can determine if you get a job or not. You choose the clothes that you put on, so what you choose and how you wear it can project a lot of non-verbal cues that could make or break a deal. A well fitting suit combined with the right tie can project a winning attitude that could help land a job. Let’s look at the basics and some simple tips for how to dress on a job interview.

Interview Attire - Tips for Gentelmen

The Suit
While it is pricey, get a custom-tailored suit if you can. This is a great investment and one that will pay off not only on the interview but on the job as well. Too many off the rack suits are ill fitting (baggy, small, tight, etc.). You may be able to purchase 2 off the rack suits at $300-$400 a piece compared to a single custom tailored suit at $600-$800. Remember though, it’s quality over quantity. A custom tailored suit looks infinitely better than a poor fitting off the rack suit. Additionally, you really only need one suit to land the job and once you get the job you can afford a few more suits. If monotony is what worries you, a different tie can always change the color and look of a suit. Tip: The suit sleeves should be a little short so that a bit of your dress shirt cuff can come out.

The Fabric
Dark colors work well in the business and financial services industry. A complete black suit looks a bit boring and bland so we suggest you opt for pinstripes. Tip: Thin keeps it classy! Once you have the opportunity to get more than one suit, look for various shades of grey from light to dark before you start adding in the tan colors.

The Shirt
In finance, we suggest you stock up on white shirts. They are clean and professional looking. A blue shirt should only be work on ‘casual’ Fridays. Tip: Starch your collars so that they are nice and stiff. This should go without saying, but wear a white undershirt that cannot be seen through the collared shirt. An above all else: Iron, iron, iron. No wrinkles.

The Tie
The most important part of the tie, is how you tie it. Yes there are different ways to tie a tie and each looks best with different types of collars. Practice in the mirror tying your tie until it starts to feel natural. You do not want to wake up the day of the job interview and try to learn. Ties should be in conservative colors with simple patterns. This is the chance to bring some color to the suit, but nothing over the top. Tip: Ties should have a dimple in the middle; this adds a touch of character, panache and a je ne sais quoi to the ensemble.

The Belt
Wear one, no discussion. Nothing outlandish, just a simple black/brown belt. Tip: Do not wear a belt with a flashy buckle.

The Socks
Some may not think about this detail, but in an interview you will be sitting and your socks will show. Wear dark colored socks. Under no circumstances should you wear white socks. Tip: Avoid patterns.

The Shoes
Shoes are one of the most important things in an ensemble. Well kept shoes reflects well on the wearer signaling you know how important the details are and that you take the time to make sure they are kept nice. Tip: Keep them shined and make sure they match you belt color.

The Watch
Men should have very few pieces of jewelry. A watch is one piece that is a necessity. It signifies that time is important to you and it makes you look more professional. You can get a really nice simple watch for under $150 and it will last a long time. Tip: Make sure its an analog not digital watch.

The Bag
Do not bring a backpack to an interview or even to your job. You are not in school anymore. Get a laptop bar or even a briefcase.

The Notebook
An easy way to get extra ‘points’ in an interview is to come prepared with a notebook and pen. Don’t bring a spiral bound notebook to take notes. It will be worth spending a few extra dollars on the nice leather binder or folder that holds a legal pap. Tip: Moleskins are very nice looking notebooks and some even come with a hard cover. As for the pen, adding a nice ball-point pen that you carry with you in the breast pocket can bring along a touch of sophistication with your ensemble. Tip: No Bics or Uniballs.

Got any other tips? Please share with us your experiences – has dressing the part, help you get the part?

By Albert Tan, Wall Street Services Reporter