When it comes to advice on what to wear for a job interview, our response is the same no matter what the role you’re interviewing for: wear a suit.
Whether you’re interviewing for a job in the mail room or as an intern, or you’re interviewing for a role as CEO, wearing a suit is the first step towards a successful interview. So often, people ask the question, “Why?” They don’t understand why, even if they’re interviewing for a position where you won’t be required to wear a suit every day, they should wear a suit to their interview. They don’t get it. The answer is simple: it shows you care. Going through the motions of organizing and putting on a suit shows that you care enough to put in the effort. Effort and care are key virtues that employers look for when it comes to hiring. Answering, “Wear a suit,” is easy enough. The hard part comes next. What suit is the real question. And so, to help you answer that, we’ve come up with several looks to help get you on the right track.
1. The Classic
Good For: This is a good choice if you’re interviewing for an entry to mid-level job in a conservative industry such as law or banking.
The Details: What do we mean by ‘the classic’? We’re talking about your standard two-button single breasted suit in a classic colour such as charcoal, black or blue. Pair it with smart leather lace-ups (make sure you’ve given them a good clean and shine before the interview) and finish off your look with a nice silk tie in a subtle print (nothing too flashy for an interview).
2. The Three-Piece
Good For: This is a good look if you’re interviewing for a more senior position or interviewing for a job where you’ll be doing a lot of client-facing work.
The Details: We often get asked if wearing a three-piece suit to a job interview is acceptable. Generally, we would say yes. It depends on the three-piece. Since the three-piece is considered to be slightly more formal and ‘showy’ than a simple two-piece, we would say it is acceptable only if it’s in a plain fabric. Avoid bold pinstripes or over-the-top checkered fabric. In terms of colour palette, stick to navy blue, charcoal or black. Keep the rest of your look sleek and simple, too.
3. The Double-Breasted
Good For: Again, this is a good look for a upper-level management position. It can also work for more creative industries where showing that you have your own personal style and are attentive to detail are important hiring points.
The Details: The same goes for a double-breasted suit. In general, yes, this is acceptable job interview attire. However, make sure you stick to simpler styles that aren’t too flashy. Avoid lapels that are too wide and make sure to stick to solid classic colours. We suggest pairing this with a crisp white shirt and a classic tie.
4. The Tastemaker
Good For: If you’re going up for a job in the creative industry or for a role which requires you to flex your taste-making muscle.
The Details: By all means, incorporate your own personal touch to your look and opt for something that’s more fashion-forward. We recommend sticking to a suit in order to keep it professional, but feel free to go for suits in an interesting cut, with unexpected design details or textured fabrics. Just don’t go over-the-top with every single item. We suggest sticking to a classic white or light-blue shirt and nice leather shoes and flexing your creative style with your suit and tie.
5. The Business Casual
Good For: If you really can’t splurge for a suit or borrow one from a friend or family member.
The Details: While we recommend 100% that you wear a suit to a job interview, we do understand that sometimes circumstances can prevent this from happening. In this case, we’d suggest at least putting on a nice blazer, shirt and tie with some cotton trousers. Though it’s not a full suit look, it absolutely is the next best thing. Though you may not have access to a full suit or have the means to purchase one, you can always try to reach out to a friend or family and see if they can loan you some things from their wardrobe for your interview. If you can’t manage to get a whole suit together, or even or a nice blazer or shirt and tie, don’t let that get in the way of your performance at your interview. How you dress is important, yes, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. Take a shower, wash your face, make sure you’re well-groomed, presentable and full of your own personal charisma–these are the most important things when it comes to nailing that job interview.