Once upon a time I briefly worked in the staffing industry and saw at least one of these mistakes daily. Remember – The key for every interview is this: You want the interviewer to be listening to what you’re saying, not critiquing what you’re wearing. So make sure you have your what NOT to wear checklist in front of you before your interview:
What Not to Wear:
1. Don’t carry a backpack! Please use in a briefcase or portfolio instead.
2. Remove all ‘transit accessories’ including sunglasses or headphones before entering the building.
3. Ties: Wear one – should be made of silk. Best colors are red or burgundy.
4. No very bright or large-patterned clothing
5. No earrings or ‘extra’ jewelry on men: really the only jewelry you can get away with is a wedding ring, class ring or metal watch.
6. No facial piercings, tongue jewelry or visible tattoos
7. Long fingernails or dirty fingernails.
8. Unnatural hair colors or styles. I once had a guy show up to my interview with bright fuchsia hair – what was he thinking?!!!
9. Short-sleeved shirts, and don’t even think about wearing a tie with one
10. Men whose socks don’t match their shoes, or whose socks are too short and leave a gap of flesh when they are seated
11. Rumpled or stained clothing: If interviewing late in the afternoon, try to change to a fresh suit or at least a fresh shirt beforehand.
12. Scuffed or inappropriate footwear, including sneakers, flip flops, crocks.
13. Strong aftershaves, perfumes or colognes: Many people are allergic to certain scents. For a subtle fragrance, use a good bath soap.
14. Belts and shoes that don’t match: Shoes and belts should be made of leather or leather-like materials and the best colors for men are black or cordovan.
15. Ill-fitting clothes. Few people can wear things straight off the rack. Spending a little extra to invest in a few custom clothing pieces will definitely make a big difference.
So What is the perfect look for the interview?
Navy Suit – Why Navy? Because the colors you wear in a professional setting are about so much more than mere fashion or style. Colors send subconscious messages, affecting the person who is interviewing you!
What is the one color that absolutely breathes success? It’s blue! Studies show that navy blue is the best color for a suit to wear to a job interview, because it inspires confidence. You are more likely to get the job when you wear navy blue to an interview than any other color.
Red Tie – Throw in just a splash of red. Red is powerful and strong. It shows you’re not afraid to stand out, and it gets attention. But not too much red like a red button down shirt – this could get you in trouble. A bright red button down shirt with a dark suit and tie could look too Vegas or Mafia on a man.
Matching belt and shoes with a briefcase.
Now… what to wear on a more Informal Interview:
For those who are going for a more informal interview – especially in today’s economy – we may take a lot more trips to Starbucks or Panera for the informal preliminary interviews.
For the informal interview, I suggest a sport coat. They are all the rage this season for informal interviews and social networking altogether. Again, navy blue color but with updated looks for the fall season. The navy blazer has gotten a face lift – gone are the day of brass buttons! Going into the fall you have a lot more options other than the typical sports coat. For instance, one popular design is the hacking pocket – the hacking pocket is derived from English riding gear, and is most prominent on bespoke suits from English tailors, particularly those traditionally associated with riding clothes. This jacket paired with different yet complementing color pants and a custom fitted shirt will having you projecting the perfect ‘man for the job’ image . Lastly, you don’t have to stick with navy necessarily, other sport coat fabrics including herringbone, big patterned plaids, double box checks and multicolored windowpane patterns are extremely popular for this fall and winter’s professional look.