Finding the right look for a job interview is about more than a shirt and tie, says Wil Valor’s Mark Ferguson.
Getting your resume in order, researching the company, practicing interview questions – they’re all good inroads to a great job interview, but what you wear can make just as much impact.
“Whether you are looking for your first job out of school or attempting to land your next great gig, deciding exactly what to wear to the interview can be difficult,” says Mark Ferguson of Brisbane’s Wil Valor.
“You want to differentiate yourself from all the other candidates but you don’t want to make your mark as the guy who committed some sort of fashion faux pas.”
Mark offers the following guidelines to getting it right:
Stick with Classic Colours
Since colour is one of the first things a prospective employer will notice about you, it’s important to make sure you are on track. The good news is for men the rules of the game are fairly simple. Essentially you can’t go wrong with darker, conservative colours. For instance, your suit should be either navy or charcoal gray. Some feel that black and brown are also appropriate, but be wary. Brown can come off as too casual and black can be overpowering and too proper.
A coordinating tie is essential. Once again stay conservative and opt for classic patterns and colours. Solid colours like dark blue are recommended. Stripes and dots are usually the way to go in terms of patterns. Avoid any tie with a picture on it or other extreme designs. Using a white shirt as a backdrop for the tie is most often your best bet, although a lighter blue can be used as a substitute. You’ll also want to make sure your belt and shoes match. If you are heeding our advice and sticking with the previously mentioned colours, then a black belt and black shoes are the way to go. However, if you do drift into the world of medium tones or muted pastels, then dark brown is stylish.
Fit and Finish
Because you can see a suit’s colour from a distance, it often attracts most of the viewer’s immediate attention. However, an interviewer will also notice the details of your suit during the interview. The most basic requirement is to make sure the suit fits. You’ll also want to consider your body style when making other style decisions. Check out our style guide articles to assist you in this area.
Fabric is also important. Wool is probably the most often recommended suit fabric due to its versatility. For your shirt, stick with cotton, it breathes and feels luxurious. Your tie should be silk.
As you can see, before you discover if you are the “right fit” for a company, it’s wise to make sure your suit is the right fit for you.