Don’t let the “casualization” of office attire fool you — you should always wear a suit to an interview, even if you’re more dressed up than the other candidates or even the interviewer.
Clinton Kelly, fashion aficionado of “What Not To Wear” fame, recently spoke at his alma mater Boston College on the importance of dressing properly for job interviews. Kelly reminded college students that they are being judged on their appearances all of the time.
While Kelly’s presentation was aimed at the young college demographic, 23-and-over adults could also learn a thing or two. With times changing and “Casual Fridays” becoming “Casual Workplaces,” the formality of dressing up for a job interview has gone by the wayside. It may seem overkill or out of place, especially in a casual office to wear a suit and tie to an interview. Unfortunately, it takes stylists like Kelly to remind people of fashion etiquette when it should be plain common sense.
Why You Should Still Wear A Suit To Every Job Interview:
1. First impressions are crucial.
A suit means business. It’s rare that anyone actually looks bad in a suit, unless it’s ill-fitting or something too colorful (i.e., what Lloyd or Harry wore to the owl benefit in Dumb and Dumber). If you don’t wear a suit, the employer might not take you seriously. Brush up on the six no-no’s of a suited man.
2. It shows you care.
Going along with first impressions, dressing the part shows that you are serious about the job. This isn’t something you’re just doing for fun or for the heck of it. If you get the job, maintaining a professional dress code can set you apart from others, and maybe make you just a little more memorable when it’s time for promotions.
3. It makes you feel better about yourself– and more professional.
If you are dressed in an outfit you’ve worn a million times before, you feel comfortable, but maybe too comfortable. There’s something to be said about the way a suit makes one feel. While there’s an occasional heightened anxiety, sometimes it’s a good form of anticipation. You are professional in a suit, a master at your job. In a more average outfit, you’re the guy who watches golf on the couch with his hand down his pants. Confidence is all visual, if you look confident, the interviewer will think you are.
4. You’d rather be overdressed than underdressed.
Even when Brennan and Dale dressed in tuxedos to their interviews in 2008’s Step Brothers, it was definitely better than sloppy sweatpants and a Judds t-shirt. Not to suggest you should wear a tux to your next interview, but if you are second guessing attire, the best advice is to always look your nicest; if you underdo it, you’re the “lesser than” in a room of “more thans.”
5. Never underestimate a sharp-dressed man.
If you can turn heads on your way to the interview, maybe you can turn heads with your job performance, too. Think of it as a date. You wouldn’t want to dress crappy for a girl in the beginnings of a courtship. It would set the wrong ‘mood’. In psychological studies, women judge the same man as differentially attractive based on what he wears. The same goes for a job interview (even with dude-on-dude interviews).
It’s human instinct to judge people based on their looks. It’s simply something we humans can’t help. We’ve always been drawn to pretty things, even as babies. Unfortunately, while we can clone sheep and make kick-ass 3D movies, we can’t fix the ability to judge others. All we can do is suit up for the special occasions life grants us.