How to Get Ready for an Interview

Interview attire
Image by Mr Porter

Tips on clothes and grooming

You landed the interview. You want to land the job. So it’s time to prepare.

Clothes, as they say, make the man. They also say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Nowhere are these cliches more true than during a job interview.

So as the interview approaches, take some time to ensure that you look like someone who belongs at the company.

Classic Interview Attire for Men

Things were easier back in the day. Before the move toward a more casual work environment, dressing for an interview required a guy to wear a suit. Black or dark blue were best. A button shirt and tie were essential. A man was most likely to avoid wearing anything that stood out. A spot of color – a striped tie, perhaps, or a pocket square - was as risque as etiquette allowed.

Things are different now. A guy today has a lot more freedom when choosing an outfit for an interview. But that’s not to say that there are no rules.

“Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think you dress for the job that you want,” says Joanna Medeiros, a stylist with Taelor. “So if you’re applying at a law firm or something like that, you're going to want to wear a suit.”

Suits, business formal
Image by Suitshop

For less formal roles, a less formal outfit is fine. The best and safest bet for most interviews for most office jobs is to go with a sort of high-end business casual .

“I think what works best is the upper side of business casual. You don't want to overdress, but you want to look very professional,” says Scott Shapiro, a stylist with Taelor. “You don't want a blazer necessarily, unless it's that kind of job. I like a nice button down shirt, a nice pair of chinos , maybe a tie .”

Business casual
Image by Forbes

Do your research

In the days before the interview, a guy should take some time to find out what looks are acceptable at the company where he’s applying. If you know someone who works there, ask them what sort of clothes are expected. If you don’t know anyone at the company, a bit of reconnaissance is in order. Take a look at the company’s website and see if there are pictures that show how folks are dressing at work. Or stroll by the office and gauge how people look as they arrive at work.

If you’re a Taelor customer, reach out to your stylist and tell them about the interview. They can help you choose an outfit and/or send you something special for the interview.

Polish your resume and your shoes

Interview essentials
Image by Vincisoftware

One way to stand out in an interview is through the careful selection of footwear and accessories. No matter how casual the office might be, don’t wear sneakers. Opt instead for shoes that are sophisticated, even if they’re not dress shoes. Make sure they are clean and polished.

If you have a nice watch, wear it. If you like bracelets or rings, choose items that are subtle. This is not the time for anything oversized or garish.

Interview essentials
Image by Hugo Boss

Pay particular attention to what you carry in your hand.

“A thing that seems to be hard for guys is having the right bag,” says Scott. “You don’t want a casual backpack. You don’t want a big briefcase sort of thing. That’s a little weird and old-fashioned. Carry a nice laptop bag or portfolio bag.”

Whatever bag you choose, make sure it contains the following: breath mints, a pen, a notebook, a handkerchief, a foldable umbrella (you don’t want to get caught without one in a sudden rainstorm enroute to the interview), an extra shirt (in case you spill coffee on yourself enroute to the interview) and copies of your resume.

Groomed for the job

It’s a wise move to get a haircut a day or two before the interview. If you wear a beard or mustache , get a professional trim. Then make minor adjustments to your facial hair the morning of the interview.

If you wear cologne, an interview requires an even more subtle scent than usual. Don’t overdo it. You want to smell nice. But you don’t want your scent to be the first thing the interviewer notices about you.

Clean Haircut
Image by Stryx

Dressing for a virtual interview

In today’s era, many interviews take place by video chat. The rules for dressing for a video interview are essentially the same as an in-person interview with one major exception: don’t wear anything that could look distorted on the screen.

Stripes, patterns and plaids often look strange on video. Small stripes in particular can cause a strobing effect. Paisley can look blurry. Herringbone and pinstripe can look positively strange. If you’re unsure how a piece of clothing will look on a screen, test it on a video call with a friend long before interview day.

Landing (and keeping) a job are among the most important tasks in any man’s life. Clothes can play a role in making a guy “look the part” at any job. Taelor is a menswear rental subscription service that aims to help men prepare to look great when it matters most – like during the interview for your dream job. Our styling service, powered by a human stylist and assisted by artificial intelligence, finds the clothes that help you succeed.

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Virtual Interview
Image by Optomi

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