Job Interview Dress Code for Men – How to Dress to Get the Job

by | Dec 17, 2016

You did your research, applied for the job and got the phone call. That’s great, but now comes the job interview part. Reading this you probably realize that good first impressions are usually the difference between getting the job or not and what big role your attire plays in them. If that’s so you’re completely right.

“On a job interview, your attire makes a statement about yourself before you even open your mouth.” – Nicole Williams

Your attire, of course, should be stating that you are the one they’re looking for and will fit the position. For that first and most of all it should be appropriate for the specific job interview.

You can’t go to a law firm job interview wearing jeans, nor can you dress business professional when applying for a bartender in a local coffee place. Dressing inappropriately will make you look out of place and decrease your chances of success greatly.

The guy dressed appropriately for the job will always get it against someone who’s sloppy about his appearance.

That’s why in this article we’ll help you identify the right interview dress code for your next job and show you exactly what to wear. Don’t worry, as you’ll see it’s far easier than you might expect. After that dressing for your next job interview won’t be a problem at all.

Determining The Appropriate Interview Dress Code

 

The key is to find that sweet spot where you’re neither too overdressed nor too casual. To look like someone who will fit with the others, but still be a bit dressed up in order to show respect to the interviewer.

A solid rule is to dress one level above the accepted day-to-day dress code in the work place you’re applying for. You’ve probably heard it, but what does this really mean? It’s actually simple, because there are only two appropriate interview dress codes you’ll have to choose between – business professional and business casual. We’ll review them in detail in the next section. Below you can see examples of the two.

Business professional is the most formal you’ll have to dress for a job or interview and is pretty strict. It’s also the most used dress code for the occasion and a safe bet if you’re not sure which one to choose.

Business casual is one level below and allows more freedom in combining clothes. Nevertheless, it’s considered appropriate and a great choice for many job interviews. Anything below business casual will be too casual and unserious for most job interviews.

Your choice based on the given workplace’s day-to-day way of dressing should look like this:

Day-to-day: business professional ► Job interview dress code: business professional
Day-to-day: business casual ► Job interview dress code: business professional
Day-to-day: anything bellow business casual ► Job interview dress code: business casual

So How Are Things in The Work Place You Apply For?

You should probably have pretty good idea what’s the day-to-day dress code in the workplace you’re applying for. However if you don’t you’ll have to do some research to find the answer.

The best thing you can do is go and see for yourself how things are. Another option is to ask a friend or someone you know who works the same job for insight. If those options don’t work check the firm’s website. There’s a high chance you’ll find some photos with the information you need.

Keep in mind that sometimes the accepted dress code for the same type of job in two different places can vary. That’s why it’s best to see how things are in the exact place you’re applying for. Now let’s get down to the job interview dress codes and the examples to make all clear.

 

Business Professional – Use For Conservative Jobs Like Law, Finance, Banking etc.

 

This dress code is the most formal you’ll need for a job and is pretty straight forward. You should wear it on the interview for any job where the day-to-day dress code is business casual or business professional.

We have a full article on dressing business professional you can read here. However, make sure you read the section below as we’ll make some points specific to the job interview case.

The Suit

The core of this dress code is a classic suit with a single breasted 2 or 3 buttons jacket. The best colors are navy blue and charcoal gray. Black is also suggested by many but we wouldn’t advise it, because it may come as too strong.

As for the fabric the suit should be made of a natural one like wool. Stay away from synthetic fabrics as they may be cheaper, but they look cheap also.

You should always look for a good fit. It will be best to go for a bespoke or made-to-measure suit, so it can fit you perfectly, but as we know not everyone can afford that.

Your other option is to buy an off-the-rack one but make sure you have enough time prior the interview. Chances are it won’t fit you perfectly and you’ll have to take it to a tailor for some fixes.

Note: As you sit down for the interview unbutton your jacket so it can fall down smoothly, instead of bumping around your chest.

The Dress Shirt

The dress shirt should also fit you well to add to the overall image. Choose between light blue or white color, as they are the best and safest choices. The blue color is associated with honesty, while the white with order.

For the shirt collar choose between a medium-spread or classic one. The first option is good if you have a narrow face shape, because it’ll balance it out. However, don’t go for full spread collar as it’ll be too much.

The Tie

For your tie choose a conservative silk one in solid color or with a subtle pattern. Conservative means something that is not very attention grabbing and loud. Usually you can’t go wrong choosing a dark blue one.

The knot should be a Half-Windsor or Full-Windsor, as this knot type is usually associated with business. The aim is to fill the space between the collar’s edges without pushing them away. With that in mind the Full-Windsor will be a good choice for a medium-spread collar, as it’s a bit bigger.

The Rest

And last but not least – dress shoes preferably in black color (brown can also work), nicely polished. Oxfords are a good solid choice. Also make sure your belt is the same color as your shoes and your socks the same color as your pants.

That’s the business professional look you should aim for when attending a job interview. Wasn’t hard, right? If this seems too conservative maybe the business casual is the right choice, so let’s move to it.

Business Casual – Use For Non-Conservative Jobs With Relaxed Day-To-Day Dress Codes

 

This is a good job interview dress code for places with non-formal day-to-day environment like in startup companies for example. Also it’s appropriate for non-professional jobs you can apply for in shops, coffees, delivery and so on.

As a rule dress business casual for jobs with casual day-to-day dress codes like jeans and t-shirts for example. While we have a full article for business casual that you can find here, below we’ll show you how to use it specifically for job interviews.

Jacket and Trousers

To begin with, this is not a full suit look so the trousers and jacket should be of different colors and fabric. For the jacket choose between a blazer and a sports jacket. Go for a standard color like navy blue, variation of gray or brown. The trousers should be chinos, khakis or dress pants in grey, navy or camel.

You can remove the jacket to create a more casual look. This will be an appropriate look for the summer, but it’s also the most casual you should go for.

Dress Shirt and Tie

Wear a dress shirt in light blue or white, just like for business professional. While the business casual is a more relaxed look you can’t go wild, stick to what is proven to work best.

When it comes to the necktie the choice of wearing one is up to you, but we’ll suggest you do. It will make the difference between a more professional or casual look. Here the tie requirements are the same as for business professional.

Note: If you choose not to wear a tie unbutton 1 or 2 of your dress shirt buttons. Be careful not to show too much skin or chest hair.

The Rest

Finish it off with leather shoes like oxfords or loafers in black or brown color. Combine them with a matching color belt.

Wrapping It Up

 

Before we finish there are a couple more things to be said. First, leave any fancy jewelery you might want to wear at home. No rings or yearrings, the only acceptable thing is a business watch with a clean design.

You might also want to take something you can put your resume and other things in. For this choose a nice portfolio that is the same color as your suit.

Also prepare your complete attire the night before. Discovering that something is missing or can’t be used first thing in the morning is never a good way to start things off.

Thank you for reading. We wish you much success and winning the job with your right-on-point look. If you liked the article you can share it with your friends. We also encourage you to follow us so that you are always kept up to date with our latest articles.


1 Comment

  1. michael

    Good article, im happy to see that not everyone is advising to just wear a suit. I did it some years ago at a fast food job interview and it felt really awkward 😀

    Reply

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