Interviews are like first dates. You want to look and feel your best and impress the person you’re meeting. But unfortunately many men don’t think this way about interviews. The standard attire of a suit either with or without a tie makes it easy for men you’d think. However, in today’s ever changing economy with dress codes evolving, and in many cases becoming more relaxed, what do you do as a man to stand out for the right reasons.
Remember first impressions last. The moment that an interviewer sees you, they will be making certain assumptions about you. It happens to all of us. We do it subconsciously all the time. You could argue that it shouldn’t be this way, but it doesn’t matter whether you agree with it or not, it happens and it’ll always happen.
For an interviewer, the questions they’ll be asking subconsciously will be:
- Do you look right?
- Do you look like the type of person that’ll fit in here?
- Does what you’re wearing look appropriate?
Here are 5 steps to ensure that you get it right for your next interview:
1. Knowing what to wear
So what do you wear at your next interview? The starting point is to know what people at that company already wear, so that you don’t get it wrong and turn up in your jeans when people wear a suit and vice versa.
So, how do you find out what they wear? Well there are three options:
- Ask the recruiter who put you forward for the role; or
- Phone the company and speak with someone on reception and ask their advice; or
- If the company is close go early in the morning and see what people wear to work
Once you know what you need to wear make sure that you wear your best outfit. That doesn’t mean you have to fork out lots on something expensive. What I mean is make sure that it’s your best suit, best trousers etc. Feeling good in what you wear will help you get in the right mindset for the interview.
3. The Outfit
A classic and stylish look that will help you stand out is wearing block (solid) colours. I recommend a plain navy or grey suit with a plain white, blue or pink shirt. If you need to wear a tie, choose one that compliments the colour of the shirt you’re wearing. Choose a belt and socks that match the shoes you’re wearing. Leave anything colourful, stripey or funny at home.
If the organisation has a more relaxed dress code, I’d still recommend going smart casual. Wear smart trousers, which could be jeans, coupled with a plain shirt and jacket or blazer. This approach will look good on you and show that you care about your appearance even when you’re dressed more casually.
4. The Fit
Whatever you decide to wear, ensure that it fits properly. Far too many times interviewees turn up either in a suit that looks like their Dad’s or something far too tight that breathing looks to be a problem. If in doubt find something else to wear.
I know this is plainly obvious, but check that your clothes are clean, crease free and don’t smell. Suits should look as though they are new and have good strong creases in the trousers. Jeans, trousers and shirts, should also be crease free.
Shoes should be cleaned and polished, and don’t forget the heels too. You want to look your best from head to toe. Hair should be neat and nails should look tidy too. Aftershave should be subtle and not over powering – less is more in this case.
Take some mints with you so that prior to the interview you can freshen up your breadth. Avoid smoking (if you’re a smoker) as it does linger and leaves a stale smell which doesn’t create a good impression.
Why is this important? You want to create a positive impression with the interviewer before you start. A positive impression leads the interviewer down a track of looking for positive reinforcement to back up their first impressions. It will give you a head start.
Need some practice?
If you liked Jonathan’s interview tips for men but still aren’t sure you’re ready, don’t be afraid! We offer mock interview sessions with constructive feedback! Get in touch, we’ll make sure you stand out.
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Jonathan Burston is the creator and founder of the Interview Expert Academy (IEA). IEA helps individuals with the best advice, tips, resources and techniques to really stand out at interviews and increase their chances of success. Jonathan’s background in senior sales, marketing and general management roles has meant that not only has he interviewed hundreds of candidates during the course of his career but also been on the other side of the fence interviewing for roles. He knows what works and what doesn’t at interviews.