Interview Attire for Men: How to Impress the Hiring Manager

suave job applicant wearing a grey suit and blue tie
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Overview

Attention all men preparing for an interview: never underestimate the importance of your outfit! Although it is an age-old cliche that first impressions matter, that is certainly the case when trying to get hired. Before you even get to the famous and ever-important first handshake, the first thing a hiring manager is going to notice is your outfit, which is why you want to wear the right job interview attire for men. Simply put, you want to dress to impress.

Now if you are a guy, I am sure you are wondering, “what should I wear to the interview?” And the short answer is it depends on different factors, such as the type of job, the company, the size of the company, and their dress policy. Fortunately, modern attire rules are more flexible than in the past and gender roles are more fluid today, giving men many more options on what they can wear when they embark on that crucial interview. 

In this article, we discuss interview attire for men, what they can wear to a job interview, what they should not wear, and other tips you should use to ensure you look the part when you take your first step into the office.

What’s the Proper Interview Attire for Men?

Job interviews allow you to sell yourself to potential employers and show them how you provide value to their company through your particular set of skills and expertise. Preparation is paramount, and the way you present yourself through your attire can either positively or negatively affect your hiring chances. In fact, 55% of a person’s opinion is based on clothing and physical appearance. That is why you need to take the necessary amount of time to meet all of the attire requirements for the employer. Dress codes for companies generally fall under three categories. These include:

  1. Business Professional
  2. Business Casual
  3. Smart Casual

Business Professional Attire

Business professional attire is the most formal interview attire for men and is generally suitable for white-collar jobs and more traditional companies. Companies and roles that generally require business professional attire include law firms, management positions, sales jobs, IT roles, and other administrative office jobs.

Business professional requires the full suit and tie matchup, with the dress pants, blazers, and shoes to match. You could also add a nice vest, but that is optional. When you wear business professional attire, you want your clothes to fit you properly. Loose, hanging clothing is off-putting for interviews. Likewise, you want your outfit to be dark or neutral colors, such as navy, gray, light blue, or black. And do not forget, always tuck your shirt in and make sure your tie comes down to your belt.

Business Casual Attire

Wearing business casual attire is for companies that are a little less serious than their suit and tie counterparts. However, they are still a business, so you want to look professional. Business casual does not mean jeans and a t-shirt. However, a nice button-down shirt or a sweater is a good choice. Likewise, chino pants are a good alternative if you want to avoid wearing traditional dress pants.

You can generally avoid wearing a tie and blazer with business casual. As for colors, you can be a little more vibrant than business professional, and even wear a shirt with an interesting pattern. However, do not go overboard. A pink shirt with complex geometric outlines may be too much. Lastly, you can spice up your outfit with colorful socks.

Smart Casual Attire

Wearing smart casual interview attire is generally for smaller companies, startups, or companies with a younger workforce. Smart casual can be risky for a company with a business professional or business casual work setting, so you want to be 100% certain the company you are interviewing for allows smart casual outfits. 

As for the outfit itself, it generally consists of well-tailored jeans or chinos, a nice shirt (either short-sleeve or long-sleeve), and a clean pair of sneakers. Smart casual is a great way to express personality, so do not be afraid to go with something a little less unconventional. But remember, always keep it professional. If you want to know more, here is a more in-depth guide to nailing the smart casual look.

caucasian man in smart casual attire sitting next to his female coworker

What to Avoid Wearing to a Job Interview

Now that you know the different types of interview attire and what to wear for each, you should also know what to avoid at all costs. Wearing inappropriate or distracting clothing can be detrimental to your hiring chances and could make or break your interview. When it comes to an interview, these are things you must avoid wearing:

  • Casual Clothing: White t-shirt, tank top, shorts, gym clothes
  • Open-Toed Shoes: Flip-flops, crocs, sandals
  • Clothes with Wrinkles or Stains: Give the appearance that you are unorganized and messy
  • Too Much Cologne: Can be distracting if the smell is too strong
  • Baggy Clothes: Show that you cannot find clothes that fit properly
  • Vibrant Colors: Although a vibrant yellow suit may be a great outfit for a cocktail party, it is not the best one to wear to an interview.

Additional Interview Attire for Men Tips

Here are some additional tips to ensure you are dressed for success when you go in for the big interview:

  • Conduct Research: Go on the company’s website and find photos that show what employees are wearing in the office. What employees wear on a day-to-day basis should give you direction on what to wear to the interview.
  • Ask Your Interviewer for Instructions: Generally, whenever you receive an interview request from a company, they inform you what to wear to the interview. However, if you are uncertain, you could always reach out to them through email to be certain what they expect you to wear.
  • Keep it Simple: More does not always mean better. When it comes to an interview, you want to keep it simple and elegant. Your outfit should not be a distraction but appealing enough to garner praise.

How Lensa Can Help You Get that First Interview

Just getting your foot in the door is difficult enough, which is why you want to set yourself up for success to the best of your ability. Dressing appropriately can go a long way towards your hiring potential. At Lensa, our website has thousands of job openings from around the U.S. and is here to help you find your dream job. Likewise, if you want more insight into the hiring process and how to maximize your opportunities, you can also check out our blog on Ways to Nail Your Interview.

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