Friday, April 30, 2010

Guys, Advance Your Image in the Job Interview!

This is the last official week of blogs just for the guys, but if you’re a guy who is a regular reader, you know a lot of my blog topics include advice for both genders. This week I am providing tips on how to dress for the job interview that are specific to the guys, along with a few other interview tips.

Dressing for the interview:

• When it comes to suits, men should stay away from black because it’s too formal for a job interview. Instead, opt for charcoal gray or navy blue, preferably solid or pin stripe in a wool or wool/polyester blend fabric. Avoid extreme patterns and fabrics such as acetate/rayon blends. Make sure it fits well (yes, that again), and don’t forget to remove any external tags and tacking stitches.
• The shirt worn underneath the jacket should be long-sleeve, in white, light blue, or a conservative stripe with ¼ inch of the sleeve peaking out from the jacket sleeve. Make sure to wear a white crew neck t-shirt underneath instead of a v-neck t-shirt.
• Choose a quality tie in silk that has a conservative pattern if you are wearing a solid shirt, or one that is solid if you are wearing a striped shirt. Stay away from red ties for job interviews which can give the impression that you’re domineering and not a team player.
• Never wear a pocket square/handkerchief with an interview suit.
• Wear dark socks with black polished leather shoes that either lace up or slip on. Socks should be mid-calf so there is no skin exposed when you sit down. Shoes should be in good condition. Remember last week’s blog? People will notice your shoes and make judgments based on them!
• Wear a leather belt to match your shoes.
• The only jewelry a man should wear on an interview should be a watch and a wedding band if he is married.
• Carry a portfolio, but leave the briefcase at home. A briefcase is overkill for an interview!
• Make sure your hair is neat and you are clean shaven, but don’t use a heavy aftershave or cologne. The person interviewing you may be allergic to the fragrance.
• If you haven’t changed the style of your glasses frames in the past 3 to 5 years, it’s probably time for an update. Doing so will help you look younger. So will a new hairstyle.
• Men should get a professional manicure prior to an interview. Yes, you read that right! Men should get a manicure. It’s the little details such as these that make all the difference.
• A quick word about business casual: Only dress business casual if you know for certain that is acceptable at that particular company. If you have any doubts at all, err on the side of conservative. Business casual for men includes slacks or khakis with a collared shirt and a sports jacket, no tie. It does not include jeans (unless however it’s an industry where jeans are the regular attire and even then it should be a dress jean paired with a jacket), shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or flip-flops.
• You can find some great interview suits, shirts, and ties at great bargain prices at Flip!, Nashville’s only men’s consignment store.

A few more job interview tips:

• Be respectful of receptionists while waiting for your interview to begin. They are often very influential of their supervisor’s decisions.
• Don’t take a seat until offered one and make sure you maintain good posture.
• When answering questions, provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated your strengths and skills in past situations.
• Send a thank you note within 24 to 48 hours after the interview.

For more interviewing tips such as how to answer commonly asked questions (i.e. What are your greatest weaknesses?) and more, get your copy of my book Advance Your Image . Come back for next week’s blog where I will share several networking tips. It will be one of those blogs that’s for everybody regardless of gender! ‘Till then, have a good one!

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