Job Interview Visuals

If you dislike wearing a suit, you have plenty of company. You still have to wear it to the standard job interview.


Why must you dress up? To demonstrate, among other things:

* Competence
* Ability to play by the rules
* Serious interest in the job

The need to dress the part is especially true if you are being evaluated by anyone who has never seen you before. Never underestimate the importance of a first impression. Yes - in an ideal world - appearance generally should have no bearing in the workplace. However, a negative visual evaluation will usually immediately doom an interview. Here are safe options:


MATERIALS AND STYLE/COLORS


* Gray or navy blue, two- or three-button mostly wool suit (avoid double-breasted and don't substitute a sport jacket)
* White pure cotton, plain-cuff dress shirt. (No short sleeves!) Go with a spread collar for a narrow face, a straight collar for a broad face.
* Woven silk tie, preferably solid or tastefully striped and in fairly neutral colors (more leeway here than in other interview attire)
* Black plain leather belt of average width
* Plain black or dark blue dress socks
* Plain or cap-toe lace-up leather shoes, in black
* Minimal, quality accessories, like a metal-leather analog watch and a quality pen (no handkerchief in suit jacket pocket). Wedding and engagement rings are the only acceptable jewelry.


QUALITY


To borrow an old adage, "If you look like you need the job, you have little chance of getting it."

Avoid high-end attire. No Armani or other designer items for ordinary jobs, because people do not like those who seem to be trying to upstage them. Items should be roughly equal in quality, so that nothing stands out and takes the focus away from you the person.


CLEANLINESS AND NEATNESS


- Body Parts


* Go with a short, conservative hairstyle. So that you've become comfortable with it, get it done at least a few days in advance.
* Researchers have found that the clean-shaven look is most popular with interviewers. If you like, you probably can safely return to longer hair after being hired.
* Your hands and face need to be clean, and fingernails short.
* Make sure your teeth are clean, even if it means brushing in the restroom before the interview.


- Clothing and Accessories


* Have any item cleaned that might need it.
* At the very least, have your shirt pressed. Wrinkles signal sloppiness.
* Tie your tie properly.
* Shine your shoes.

- Fit and Function


If possible, try everything on a few weeks in advance, to allow time for tailoring and repair. A poor fit can be uncomfortable and will hurt your image, as will anything that is broken. The style that highlights the shape of your body will not be right for the typical job.


SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE YOUNGER SET AND MATURE APPLICANTS


- Boyish-looking

* Wear a gray suit and know you can less afford to not follow routine.


- People applying for jobs normally filled by younger individuals

* Most of you should wear a navy blue suit instead of a gray one. It is livelier.
* Take special care to look well-rested. Bags under the eyes and other signs of fatigue will hurt anyone, but particularly the individual already suspected of having less energy and stamina.


And to all of you, yes, think happy thoughts, make plenty of eye contact, and smile frequently. Good luck.

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