How to Dress for a Job Interview: Men

eHow spoke with several fashion experts, including Glen Hoffs of Brooks Brothers, to learn how you can help nail that job interview by dressing to impress.
eHow spoke with several fashion experts, including Glen Hoffs of Brooks Brothers, to learn how you can help nail that job interview by dressing to impress.(photo: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The great news is that your resume made an impression and you've landed an interview. The downside? You have absolutely no clue what to wear.

Perhaps you're a recent college graduate with no experience in office-job interviewing; or maybe you're hungering for a transition from a button-down law firm to a more creative position at a design or Internet startup.

Whatever your situation, some interview ensemble tips and style advice from a number of human resources professionals and men's fashion experts will have you dressing for that all-important interview with confidence and finesse.

Interview: Scheduled

If you're confused about what to wear, you're not alone. Now is an interesting -- and sometimes confusing -- time in men's business fashion, and the status quo is evolving.

"These days, men are really changing," says Cator Sparks, editor-in-chief of the high-fashion blog LookBooks.com. "Men are much more interested in grooming and fashion than they used to be."

Knowing that, you may need to step up your game a bit to compete.

"It's critical that you know your audience and know exactly the position you're interviewing for," says Bucky Keady, vice president of human resources at Manhattan publishing giant Time Inc. "The attire that you'd wear to [an interview for a position with a] scrappy blog would be very different than if you're coming to see me for an executive finance position." The former position would likely not require a suit, tie and wingtips, while the latter absolutely would.

Your ultimate goal in dressing for an interview is to show not only respect for your interviewer, but also that you fit in with the culture of the corporation.

"People in the Silicon Valley and small startups do dress a lot more casually. The rise in IT culture has really caused a lot of change in workplace attire," says Ryan Namata, senior recruiter at the Society for Human Resource Management in Washington, D.C. As a general rule, though, it's best to always bump up the formality of your interview ensemble a few notches from what you'd expect to wear on the job. The time for casual style is after you've landed the position, but always take clues from your co-workers' ensembles -- at any job -- to know what's appropriate.

Yamata, stressing the importance of dressing up for an interview, notes one of the most pointed reasons you should never hesitate to put effort and care into choosing your interview outfit: "We [interviewers] make up our minds about someone within five minutes of meeting them." It's imperative, therefore, you make a great impression right out of the gate.

Style Preparation

Perhaps you're confident that your skills and experience speak for themselves. But in this tough job market, take advantage of anything that might set you apart from the rest. A great deal of thought and preparation needs to go into your personal appearance and interview attire.

"Always remember that at a job interview, you are marketing yourself," says Time Inc.'s Keady. "Everything you do is a reflection on the brand called 'You.' Really be self-reflective on how you are going to present yourself. Do your homework. There is so much info out there that there's really no excuse to not know."

A number of the experts suggest using the power of the Internet to prepare. Not only should you research the company with which you'll be interviewing, but the people you'll be meeting as well.

Sparks and Keady point out that online research will often lead to photos of those in the corporation, particularly on sites such as Tumblr, LinkedIn or Facebook. The glimpses provide you with a sense of these people's personal style, at both work and play, and the opportunity to dress in a similar manner for the interview.

And Keady has another smart preparation tip for job applicants. She suggests going to the office where you'll be interviewing the day before the meeting -- both to route and time the commute and to get a sense of the company culture. Walk around the lobby and observe what the employees are wearing.

"Standing for five minutes in the Conde Nast or Goldman Sachs lobby can tell you so much," she says.

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