Inerview Guide, Part Two

What do you wear to an interview? It’s hard to overdress. It’s not hard to wear the wrong thing. The key to dressing correctly for an interview is to not argue with anyone giving you advice on what to wear to an interview that is writing this article. Got that? No arguments. Not a peep. Just do what I say.

For men and women, wear a suit. It’s that simple. If you don’t have a suit, get one. Make sure it fits. You should not put it on and say, “Well, that’s good enough.” You should put it on and say, “Wow, that really fits well and doesn’t look too tight or too loose.” It should cover everything from the neck to the ankles and the arms down to the wrists. Women can open the top button or two, but men still need to put a tie on. The exception to the tie rule for men would be if you have a build of a true athlete, are well-tanned, and have enough spiky hair gel to make yourself look like you’re about to get the highest bid at the bachelor auction later that night… and you’re interviewing for a sales, marketing, or other con-man type position.

The suit itself should be black or dark gray or navy blue. No stripes, no checked patterns, nothing. You should look like a Pilgrim with a tie if you’re a man. Women can choose between slacks and a skirt, but that skirt really should go past the knees when you sit down. As far as accessories go, conservative is the watchword. The earrings, necklace, and brooch you wear should be simple, unassuming, and certainly not overpowering. You want the people interviewing you to look at your face, not your bling.

Speaking of your face, you need to let it shine. Hair should be pulled back or cut close. Facial hair should be trimmed close or absent. Tilt your head up when you talk so that the light shines on you and you look great. Women, you’re going to have to do a good, conservative job with your makeup. Too much makeup is as bad as not enough. Dial it in just right and go with that. What is just right? Look at any woman in an executive position and copy her. That’ll do.

The tie for men is simple: dark red or dark blue. Simple pattern is OK, simple quiet stripes are OK. Anything loud or complicated is out. Remember, you want them to look at your face.

Shoes should be nice, clean, and not sneakers. Get a good pair that’s comfortable, shine ’em up, and go to that interview.

Should your interviewer tell you to come as you are, you have the green light to not have to wear the tie if you’re a man. Everything else should be as above, though. If you’ve already done a great phone interview and have already accepted the offer letter, *then* you can show up in flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt. Otherwise, “as you are” is actually quite nice, as it turns out.

Above all, wear a smile. Humans love to see smiles, even forced ones. Smile through your interview as much as possible. You’ll appear relaxed, confident, comfortable, and energetic – all components of the BIG WET (See part one for that acronym).

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