How to Dress for Your Interview
Episode #3 of the course How to ace any professional job interview by Ken Liu
In the first two lessons, we addressed two of the most important interview questions that you will face. But before we dig deeper into more potential questions, let’s change things up a bit and go over a crucial detail we often overlook at this stage.
In the midst of all the excitement and chaos surrounding interview preparations, it behooves you to start thinking about how you will dress a few days before the interview. While wearing the right clothes won’t necessarily help you get the job, wearing the wrong clothes will absolutely hurt your chances.
Why are we going over your outfit this early in the process? Well, we want to make sure that you don’t run into last-minute snags at the store or the dry cleaner. If you think that picking out your outfit the day before your interview is a good idea, you should think again.
The last thing you want to worry about on the day of your interview is what you should wear.
Besides, picking an outfit will give you a well-deserved distraction from researching interview questions all day long. Most people feel good when they look good. And you’ll definitely want to look sharp.
When in Doubt, Suit Up
If you don’t know what you should wear for your interview, it is almost never wrong to wear a suit.
• For guys, this means a dark suit, a light-colored shirt, a conservative tie, and a belt that matches the color of your dress shoes.
• For ladies, this means dark pants or a skirt, a conservative blouse, and closed-toe shoes.
There are many other acceptable combinations. Some people like light-colored suits, for example.
I prefer a darker color, such as navy blue or charcoal gray. After all, you’re going for an interview, not a fancy dinner party.
But whatever you wear, don’t call attention to yourself. Avoid anything too shiny or bright. You do not want your choice of clothing to distract the interviewer.
Here are a couple of examples of suits I like for both men and women.
It goes without saying but make sure your suit fits you. Too many people wear suits that are either too big or too small for them.
And if we’re being honest here, guys are guilty of this much more often than ladies.
The easiest way to make sure your clothes fit you is to visit a tailor, even if you don’t think you need to.
Before I started tailoring my suits and dress shirts, I thought all of my clothes fit me perfectly. I only realized how wrong I was after going to the tailor for the first time. The experience completely opened my eyes.
Tailoring your clothes doesn’t have to cost that much either. I’ve gotten dress shirts tailored for less than $15. I’ve gotten pants hemmed for less than $10. Each small change made a huge difference in the way I look.
If you’ve outgrown your wardrobe, think about investing in new clothes. A common misconception is that good-looking suits are expensive, which is completely false.
Remember, it’s not about the brand you wear. It’s about how you look in it. Most cities have specialty tailors that make bespoke suits at a fraction of mall prices. It pays to do a bit of research and see if there’s one near you.
If you’re applying for a job at a young hip startup that wears t-shirts and shorts to work, wearing a suit to the interview can be a bit too formal.
In those instances, you might want to wear business casual attire, which means ditching your jacket and tie.
You won’t want to be any more casual than this.
The bottom line is that you still want to look professional. Unless your interviewer specifically tells you to show up in jeans or shorts, don’t.
That’s it for today! Tomorrow, we’ll go back to interview questions and look at the ones that show up most often.
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