AUTHOR:
Austin S.

DATE:
June 2, 2015

CATEGORIES:
Success from the Start

READING TIME:
3 minutes

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Men's Interview Attire: The Suit

AUTHOR:
Austin S.

DATE:
June 2, 2015

CATEGORIES:
Success from the Start

READING TIME:
3 minutes

When you're looking for a job, getting an interview is exciting. But, that excitement can quickly disappear when you're unsure what to wear.

During my job search, the most consistent advice I heard was to wear a suit to my interview. Wearing a suit can help you look professional and prepared.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for finding a professional-looking interview suit.

The Suit Jacket

The color: For your first professional job interview, it’s best to wear a solid navy blue or dark gray suit. Black and patterned suits can come off as too severe or unprofessional for an interview.

The style: There are two classic suit styles: two-button and three-button. Two-button suits fit well on almost everyone. However, if you have a longer torso, you might opt for a three-button suit.

The length: When standing straight, the jacket should show an inch of the shirt cuffs and half an inch of the shirt collar at the back of your neck. You should be able to grab the hem of your jacket without bending or moving your hands up. If you have to do either, your jacket is too long or too short.

The fit: To judge if your suit jacket is too tight, slip your hand between the buttons of your jacket and try to make a fist. The jacket should pull slightly at the button. If you can’t make a fist, it’s too tight. If you can fit more than your fist between your torso and the jacket, it’s too loose. Also, the shoulder pad should end just above the end of your shoulder, and the jacket collar should rest against the back of your neck but not cut into it when buttoned.

If you can’t find a suit that fits perfectly, that’s fine. Grab one that fits best and, if you have the time and money, take it to a tailor to get it altered. They key here is to look polished and professional, not perfect.

The Suit Pants

The color: You do not need to purchase a jacket and pants set, but you do need to match the color of your pants and the color of your jacket. Try them on together because sometimes different brands will have slightly different shades.

The fit: If you’re uncomfortable during an interview, the recruiter will be able to tell. Try on your suit before you purchase it to make sure it’s a comfortable fit. Sit, stand, and walk in your suit to get a feel for how it fits you. If it feels fine when you walk but is too tight when you sit, then you’ll need to try something else.

The length: The hem of your pants should stop just above the top of your shoe heel when you’re standing and completely cover your socks. If you can’t find a pair of pants that have the right fit and length, purchase the ones that fit right and take it to a tailor to change the length. Pants are designed to be lengthened or hemmed, so don’t worry about this part too much in the store.

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The Shirt

As with the suit, the shirt should be a solid color. I recommend a classic, white button-down for the first interview, but other light colors are also OK. Make sure the cloth does not pull when you button it and you can tuck the shirt in comfortably.

The Tie

The tie is likely the first item of clothing a recruiter will notice, so opt for a classic interview color: navy blue, dark green, or burgundy. Depending on the company or position, striped ties may make you stand out in a positive way. It’s best to avoid skinny ties and ones with intricate designs as they can come off as unprofessional or distracting. Black ties are for formal occasions, so don't bust it out for your interview.

If you are called back for a second interview, the best way to freshen up your suit is by wearing a different tie.

I hope this gives you a good starting point for how to approach dressing for an interview. There are a few more tips that deal with some details of the interview wardrobe that will be discussed in a later post.

(Looking for advice for women's interview attire? Start here.)


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Austin S.

Austin graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in psychology, and now works as a Corporate Recruiter in College Station. Off the clock, he can be found reading and entertaining family friends with his latest culinary experiments. Austin is the go-to guy for things to do in College Station, and also can help out in the transition from college to a career.