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What To Wear To A Job Interview: Outfit Ideas For Men

22 days ago

What To Wear To A Job Interview: Outfit Ideas For Men

You eagerly sent out your CV a few weeks beforehand, and you’ve just received an email, inviting you in for an interview. Congratulations! The big day arrives; giddily, you open the wardrobe deciding what to wear and, as if on autopilot, you reach for your trusty suit and white shirt... but hold on hot shot!! Times are changing, and the expected job interview outfit has changed at the same pace. But what is the unspoken dress code for a job interview?

Well, this is where a number of different factors that come into play. Underdressing wouldn’t be a good idea and can provoke immediate distaste for the interviewer. Overdressing can make you stand out as overconfident and above your station.

A nightmare scenario either way about what to wear to a job interview, as you want to look professional and businesslike. Fear not, however, this is what we do at Dobell, so here are some variances on the rule book, and what you should do the following interview scenarios for an interview outfit.

What is the best outfit to wear to an interview?

CEO or senior role

Are you applying for a job as a CEO or very senior member of the company? Perhaps a full suit and tie is the best option, as there will be day to day dealings with people of similar rank, and they won;t take you seriously unless you are presenting yourself as someone on their level. Make it easy for interviewers to like you, and accept you as a strong candidate for the role.

Outfit Choice: Black or navy business suit, with tie and subtle pocket square, in a presidential fold. Our tip: a simple folded pocket square with a business suit really finishes off the CEO friendly look. – Dobell

Executive (non-management role)

If you are applying for an executive (non-management) position, and being interviewed by someone in a similar role, then feel free to dress in smart casual outfit. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot and make them feel like you already believe yourself above them and threaten their position, so dress down a notch.

Outfit Choice: Perhaps a blazer and smart pair of jeans coupled with an oxford shirt and a tie or patterned bow tie. Our tip: smarten up a relaxed look with a tweed blazer and blue jeans, and perhaps a patterned bow tie. – Dobell

Other roles: casual outfits

What are some good examples of business casual clothing? If the job interview is in a pub, it may be worth considering a more relaxed look, as this is obviously what the interviewer is expecting in such a setting. The fail-safe here is probably a dress shirt or v neck t-shirt and chinos. Wear suede desert shoes or loafers to ensure a smart impression was your intention.

Outfit Choice: A shirt and chinos or jeans with suede desert shoes. It looks smart, but not too over-the-top. – Dobell

If the interview is to be held at their office, then the whole interview process should be treated more formally. This is where it gets tricky, as you want to appear smart and prepared, however, if you turn up in a black pinstripe three-piece suit, but the company has a very relaxed dress code (i.e. flip flops and shorts is a regular occurrence in the boardroom), then you will stand out like a sore thumb, perhaps alienating yourself from the company culture. But play it safe…

Outfit Choice: Go for a grey suit, partnered with a white shirt and slim tie. Our tip: add black Derby shoes and belt to complete a smart business feel without adopting a corporate black suit. – Dobell

“Come in for an informal chat”

This request is a more relaxed, “initial impressions” interview, to give you and the organization you have applied to, a chance to see if there is a good match. Sometimes, because it is presented as informal, but turning up well-presented, almost overdressed, can be an unexpected yet appreciated gesture.

Outfit Choice: Blue suits paired with a light blue shirt or white shirt are usually a safe outfit. Try to combine them with brown shoes and belt. – Dobell

Full-on Interview

The easy response here is a good old fashioned light grey suit, dress shirt, black shoes, and black tie. Simple yet effective. A grey suit, with a slim black tie and a white shirt.

CEO of Dobell Formalwear, Mike Dobell, who has sat in the interviewer’s chair more times than he can count (so knows what he is talking about) said:

“The first impression is what matters. The choice of outfit is what you are measured against, in terms of how serious you are about joining the organisation. Anything from shirt and chinos, up to a full suit, I’d say is what I’d expect to see.”

That's why it's always important to dress appropriately for a job interview.

Mistakes to Avoid When Dressing for a Job Interview:

1. Short sleeves: depending on the context of the job interview you can go casually dressed, but we would recommend dressing for an interview without short-sleeve shirts. They are not OK.

2. Button-down shirt: it's considered a slightly more casual version of a dress shirt. Avoid it if possible unless you don’t wear dress trousers or dress shoes.

3. No flip flops or trainers. The only acceptable footwear for interview attire is either a leather or suede shoe, loafer, or perhaps a boat shoe if you really wish to bring the summer vibes with you, but be careful about the time and place of that last choice.

4. No ripped jeans or too-tight jeans for men are invited to these occasions, even if you want to wear smart casual attire. Ripped are never acceptable in an interview environment and may cost you the chance of employment. Yes, your charming personality and knowledge-base may be well presented during the chat, but the moment you walked in, you were potentially pigeonholed as a no.

5.Underwear that is visible to others. Some men liked to show others they wear pants underneath the trousers. It’s not usually nice to see them!

6. No sunglasses. This is not an audition for a rap video, and sunglasses have no place on your face, or head, during the interview. Humans judge other humans for levels of trust and engagement, through eye to eye contact, and you are robbing any chance of winning them over if they can’t literally see the passion and enthusiasm in your eyes during the interview.

7. The perfect one size fits all approach to adopt when you are unsure? A smart suit with an unbuttoned oxford shirt, or plain white dress shirt, like these. By unbuttoned, we mean the top 1 or 2 buttons left undone, as any more and it’s verging on Chico time.

8. Always make sure your outfit has been recently dry cleaned and pressed, or ironed.

9. Button your jacket in the only acceptable order: top, always; bottom; never.

Are you ready? Be confident and go get that job.