First Appearances

In 2012, it is still imperative to dress the part for an interview.  First impressions mean everything. Your conduct, your interpersonal skills and your ability to articulate intelligent and well-thought-out responses to questions are the most important elements.  The appropriate attire is important to your image. It conveys the message that you take the interview process seriously and understand the nature of the business.  In many industries customer contact is critical.

You want your attire to be noticed in an interview but it should not take center stage. If you are remembered in an interview for what you wore, you made an error in judgment.  Even if you are aware that employees of an organization dress casually on the job, dress more formally for the interview unless you are specifically told otherwise by the employer. The interview is a professional meeting and thus a more formal occasion than daily work.  Dressing nicely is a compliment to the person you meet. Even if you are aware that the employees of a specific organization dress casually on the job, you should dress more formally for an interview unless specifically told otherwise.

Be cognizant of trends in fashion.  Changes in the cut of pants and colors of blouses, shirts, or ties occur.  Basic business attire, however, does not change.  A good suit should last five to ten years depending on the quality and how well it is taken care of.   A two-piece matched suit is always the best and safest choice.  For men, navy and dark gray are appropriate and for women black suits are recommended.  You are not expected to be able to afford the same clothing as a corporate CEO.  Investing in a good quality is suggested.  Varying shirt/blouse and ties will keep your suit updated. All clothing should be clean and well-pressed.

Shirts should be long-sleeved.  White or light blue solids are conservative and recommended choices.  Dark socks should be worn mid-calf length so no skin is visible when seated. Leather shoes that are either lace-ups or slip-ons should be black or cordovan.  Invest in a good pair.  Belts should be black or cordovan also and should match your shoes.

Facial hair should be well-groomed. Observe others in the industry.  If you are unsure, consider changing your look accordingly.

Jewelry should be conservative.  A watch is a good choice.  If other jewelry is chosen, choose conservatively.  Earrings are not recommended.

Never confuse club attire with business attire.  Dress appropriately.  When interviewing, do your homework.  First appearances are essential.

Source: “Interview Appearance and Attire.” | Career Services. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.

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