The Gentlemen’s Ten – Interview Attire
The United States job market showing signs of improvement. However, unemployment is still too high. Even worse, the African-American male faces over 17 percent unemployment; that is higher than any other demographic on the urban landscape. With a loss of manufacturing jobs and the middle class slowly eroding, the urban gent is best to recognize himself as a brand. Your job aspirations may depend on how you package yourself and what image you convey. Sure, you have the intellect, skills, and charisma. Now you need something else to seal the deal. So, I have blown the dust off a previous post and remastered a few tips on what to wear at your next job interview or job fair. Good luck.
10. If they can smell you before they see you; more than likely you have on too much cologne. Rule of thumb calls for no cologne at all, but keep it light if you absolutely must wear some.
9. Prior to the interview you want to be freshly groomed. Make sure that your hair is well maintained as well as any facial hair that needs a fresh trim or cut. That goes for nose hair. And ear hair.
8. This may be self-explanatory, but gentlemen please make a trip to the shower before you start your day. Brush your teeth and have a mint handy when speaking to people. Check your nose for stray nasal mucus (boogers!) because that can really distract an interviewer. Vaseline for dry lips. Hand lotion for ashy knuckles. Be sure to address the areas between the fingers please.
7. Jewelry should be regulated to a watch, cuff links (barrel cuffs are fine too, don’t sweat it), and wedding ring if you are married. There is maybe even some wiggle room for a tie clip if it doesn’t come across as too pretentious. That means leaving the Burberry tie clip on the dresser. I understand it looks great, but let us not be too flashy too soon.
6. Just because a job fair may be held in an arena doesn’t give you permission to wear athletic sneakers. Sneakers partnered with a pressed pair of chinos can be smart and hip. However, you are here to land a job; not walk the red carpet at the VMAs. Chuck the Chuck Taylors and opt for some formal dress shoes. Black or burgundy will compliment your suit well.
5. Now is not the time break out your favorite Charlie Brown Christmas necktie. The same can be said for the Snoopy necktie. A gentleman’s necktie speaks volumes to his character. Do you have character or are you simply acting like one? Time to get serious. Your necktie should be discreet in nature; striped, solid, or small geometric prints are intelligent choices. If you are in doubt if your color is too loud; you should stick with variations of blue, burgundy, or red.
4. Your dress shirt should be either white, light blue, or a variation of a white shirt with blue stripes. I love cutaway collars, but that may be a little fashion forward for a job interview. Utilize your discretion. Less ornate is more. Keep the color scheme simple. Contrast collars seem to be on the rise, so a blue shirt with a white contrast collar would be fine.
3. If you don’t own a dark suit, a navy blazer can be recruited as a substitute. The navy blazer can be paired with gray or taupe wool trousers for a great conservative combination. For a more modern appearance, you might want to skip the brass buttons associated with the traditional blazer.
2. Suits should always be dark; preferred colors include navy and charcoal. Understated pinstripes are permitted just as long as it doesn’t distract from the entire outfit. You want to stick with a suit that has 2-3 buttons and not those 6 button get-ups you see some basketball players wearing. While attending the Steve Harvey Morning show last month, Mr. Harvey stated that the climate was changing and 6 button suits would no longer be in style. News alert. They were never in style. At least in the professional business world. And gents, remember to NEVER button the last button on a suit. Ever.
1. So you have impressed the interviewers to warrant a second interview. Make sure that you are taking mental notes about how the person that interviewed you dressed. This could give you a little hints about the dress attire at your future employer, so dress the part. And you might want to drop that hand written thank you note in the mailbox before leaving. Or the send that email thanking them for their time and consideration. Finishing touches. Stand and be visibility. Congratulations on the new job.
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