How to Dress for Your Interview

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Candidate A had the exact skill set the company is looking for.  He nailed every interview question.  He shared specific examples of how his skills and experience can be applied in this position.  He left feeling confident.

Candidate B had most of the skills needed.  He stumbled on one or two questions but overall did well.  He explained how his experience could help him be successful.  He left feeling a bit unsure how the interview went.  And two days later he got the job.

What I didn’t tell you here is that Candidate A showed up to the interview in wrinkled pants, a short sleeve shirt and uncombed hair.  Candidate B showed up in a suit and tie and was neatly groomed.  The simple truth is that your appearance has a big effect on first impressions.  If you really want to nail a job interview, not only do you have to be prepared, but you have to dress the part.  When in doubt, follow these suggestions:

Interview Attire Basics for Men and Women

  • Conservative two-piece business suit (solid dark blue or grey is best)
  • Conservative long-sleeved shirt/blouse (white is best, pastel is next best)
  • Clean, polished conservative shoes
  • Well-groomed hairstyle
  • Clean, trimmed fingernails
  • Minimal cologne or perfume
  • Empty pockets no bulges or tinkling coins
  • No gum, candy, or cigarettes
  • Light briefcase or portfolio case
  • No visible body piercing (nose rings, eyebrow rings, etc.) or tattoos

Men’s Interview Attire

  • Necktie should be silk with a conservative pattern
  • Dark shoes (black lace-ups are best)
  • Dark socks (black is best)
  • Get a haircut; short hair always fares best in interviews
  • Fresh shave; mustaches are a possible negative, but if you must, make sure it is neat and trimmed
  • No beards (unless you are interviewing for a job as a lumberjack!)
  • No rings other than wedding ring or college ring
  • No earrings (if you normally wear one, take it out)

Women’s Interview Attire

  • Wear a suit with a jacket and skirt or slacks; no dresses
  • Shoes with conservative heels
  • Conservative hosiery at or near skin color (and no runs!)
  • No purses, small or large; carry a briefcase instead
  • If you wear nail polish, use clear or a conservative color
  • Keep your makeup simple and natural (it should not be too noticeable)
  • No more than one ring on each hand
  • One set of earrings only

I had the pleasure of partnering with RealStreet Staffing in filling a permanent project manager position. The entire team at RealStreet listened to my needs, communicated effectively, and worked to find qualified candidates. We achieved a successful outcome and I look forward to working with RealStreet in the future.

Steven Z. Cratin, VP Asset Management

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