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Dress For An InterviewDressing for the Job Interview
Make That First Impression Count
With the pendulum swinging away from business casual and toward a dressier standard in many firms, human resource experts are recommending that candidates dress-up for interviews.

The big question, of course, is what is dress up. recommends that not only can't you go wrong by wearing a tie, but a tie can do a lot of positive things for your appearance and may actually help you land the job.

John Molloy, consultant and author of the “Dress for Success” books, agrees. “The right tie worn to a business meeting, particularly an interview where both parties are meeting for the first time, announces the wearer’s power and professionalism,” he says. “Even in this casual age the tie remains the heraldic shield of modern man.”

Not only does a tie make a man look taller and slimmer but the right tie can make a strong statement about his personality.

The tie is the most self-expressive item that men have in their wardrobe and sitting across the desk an interview it is the most noticeable.

In a job interview you are trying to sell yourself and in any selling situation, presentation is important.

In packaging yourself for the interview, it is best to err on the side of conservatism until you get a feel for the kind of environment you are entering.  A suit, dress shirt, and tie is the wisest course in these competitive times.



By the way, even if you are going into a casual office environment, it is still safest to dress up. Once you are a part of the team, or specifically told to dress casual for follow-up interviews, it is best not to make assumptions about how your casual attire will be interpreted. Some interviewers might think it presumptuous to dress like proven members of the team.  Also, it removes the whole question of which of the many forms of casual you should adopt: suit and no tie, slacks and sport shirt, tee shirt and jeans, etc.

Here are some tips from for establishing your “brand” in a job interview:

1. Tie Patterns And Tie Basics

Stick with a conservative pattern tie, but don't be afraid of color. Strong colors stamp you as someone who is not afraid to stand out in a crowd. Note that Presidential candidates usually wear strongly colored ties during the debates.  Don’t be a fashion plate. Save the skinny tie and the tight fitting suit with narrow lapels for your interviews in the fashion industry.  Tie your tie correctly. The tip of the wide end should touch your belt buckle. The narrow and wide ends do not have to be even, but the narrow end should NEVER be longer.  Use a four-in-hand knot. It's easier to tie and uses less fabric than a Windsor or half-Windsor (a concern if you are tall). If you don't know how to tie a tie, refer to the instructions here (link back to instructions)   Make sure your tie is up-to-date. An obviously old tie sends the wrong message. Similarly, avoid wrinkled or stained ties.  If you need more help on choosing the right dress necktie, see our page on how to buy men's ties.

2. Dress Shirts
Wear a freshly laundered, crisp looking dress shirt.  If you haven't worn a dress shirt recently and need to shop for one, keep this tip in mind: buy a shirt with a collar at least a half size larger than your neck measurement. When the top button is buttoned, you should be able to fit two fingers between your collar and neck. This way you'll be as comfortable as in your favorite old t-shirt when the interviewer is grilling you.  If you need more help on choosing the right dress shirt, see our page on how to buy a dress shirt.

If you need additional help in matching your necktie to your dress shirt, try practicing with our How to Match a Tie to a Shirt Game

3. Suits
Go with a dark (navy or charcoal) suit and white or blue dress shirt. Let your tie be your personal statement.

4. Shoes
Make sure your shoes are polished.

5. Grooming
Be sure your nails are clean and neatly trimmed, but not manicured and polished.  Get a hair cut a week before your interview.  Shave. The stubble look is not universally admired.

Now... Go get-em tiger!!!