Dress To Get Hired Attire Still MattersDress To Get Hired Attire Still Matters

Dressing down, business casual and the like, which are sometimes described as benefits by companies, are not appropriate for job interviews. Many of the ?rules? established nearly three decades ago in business literature still apply when it comes to interview attire. Whether what one wears to an interview should matter will not be debated here. Rather, it should be assumed by anyone interviewing for a job, whether a newly minted college graduate or a veteran to working world, proper attire still does matter for first impressions.

For men, the interview outfit has changed little over the years. Suit: Traditional navy or gray two or three button. Only button the top for two button suits or only the middle button for three button suits. 100% wool is best. Make sure it is clean and pressed. Vest are not in style currently.

Shirt: white or light blue cotton. Straight or button down collar. No French cuffs (those are for the CEO and CFO to wear). Neatly pressed and clean.

Tie: striped, foulard (small diamonds or squares) or small dot pattern in silk. Classic colors. Traditional patterns. Neatly tied and again, clean and not creased or wrinkled. No tie tacks or clips.

Shoes: black or dark brown. Classic style with laces are best but dress slip-ons are OK. The clunky ones are for the high school and college crowd. Must be polished.

Belt: leather, understated buckle, classic and leather the same color as the shoes.

Socks: plain black or navy blue.

Jewelry: no earrings ? ever, a dress watch, no more than one ring per hand on the ring finger, no lapel pins unless you are going to work at the White House ? then an USA flag pin is OK. No bracelets.

Hair ? get a good haircut (not a do-it-yourself job) a week before the interview and comb your hair prior to the interview. If you have any facial hair, make certain it is trimmed and understated.

Personal grooming: shower, shampoo, deodorize, no cologne, brush and floss your teeth, use mouthwash. Check yourself over in a mirror before you leave for the interview.

Sources: Jos. A. Bank, Brooks Brothers, Lord & Taylor, J. Press and other classic men's clothiers.

For women, the task is definitely more challenging. Fashion changes from season to season and from year to year. Again, I am going to strongly recommend the classics. Traditional cuts, colors and styles. If you think this is for the birds, you probably belong in the fashion or another creative industries ? or working for yourself.

Suit: Jacket and skirt OR pants in black, navy or gray. 100% wool is best. Make sure they are clean and pressed.

Blouse: white, ecru or pale blue. Various fabrics and classic styles are acceptable. Freshly dry cleaned.

Shoes: black, navy or dark brown depending on the suit color. Classic style pumps are best but sling backs with closed toes are OK. Make sure they are not scuffed and are polished.

Pantyhose or stockings: natural shade and no runs with skirts. Knee highs with no runs with pants. This applies twelve months a year.

Jewelry: no more than one earring per ear, simple and traditional. A dress watch, no more than one ring per hand, a pin on the jacket can be a nice touch if not too big or too "cute". Simple bangle or link bracelets are OK. As are a fine gold necklace or classic string of pearls. No ankle jewelry and no facial piercings.

Hair ? the less said here the better. Just make sure the hair is not distracting and the color is a natural looking one.

Make-up ? make sure it is not distracting and looks natural.

Personal grooming: shower, deodorize, brush and floss your teeth, use mouthwash. Check yourself over in the mirror before you leave for the interview.

Sources: Talbots, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Lord & Taylor, Banana Republic, Ralph Lauren and other stores that offer more traditional women's fashions.

Will wearing and doing these things get you the job? Probably not. But they will insure that the interviewers do focus on you, your skills and how you speak and act rather than on some aspect of your attire (yes, I agree, it should not matter ? but the fact is that it does).

I look forward to your thoughts and comments on this topic.

George Franks is the founder of Franks Consulting Group ? a management consulting and leadership coaching practice. See our web site: http://www.franksconsultinggroup.com

by George F Franks III
References and Bibliography

George F. Franks III is the founder and CEO of Franks Consulting Group based in Bethesda, Maryland. Franks served in management and executive capacities with global technology corporations for over twenty five years. His consulting firm specializes in management consulting and leadership coaching (individual and group). Franks is a member of the International Coaching Federation and the Institute of Management Consultants. Additionally he is an active member of the U S Naval Academy Alumni Association, Civil War Preservation Trust and the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table.

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