Your resume got you in the door for a first interview. After meeting with an HR representative and answering their questions, you feel confident that you put your best foot forward and that your previous achievements have the company on the verge of hiring you. Then you receive that phone call informing you that the company would like to sit down for a second interview. Success!
However, now you have to return to the company and continue to build off the successful first impression you made. You cannot wear the same suit you wore the first time, so what do you do now? With a little fashion advice, you can select the perfect outfit for that second interview that will help convince the HR manager that you are the man for the job.
Learn About the Office Setting
On RealMenRealStyle.com, the first tip you’ll find in regards to interview fashion is preparation. Before you put a single item of clothing on, you should take the time to find out what kind of setting already exists in the workplace. Some offices allow business-casual attire, while others prefer conservative fashion that is viewed as classic, if not more professional all around. It never hurts to ask before your second interview about the dress code for the company.
As the career-advice blog TheMuse.com points out, conservative outfits can differ immensely from business casual. Companies such as banks and financing firms prefer to see employees wear classic suits. Keep your colors traditional — blues, blacks, and greys — and wear simple black shoes that tie up. No slip-ons or shoes with buckles.
Business casual, conversely, allows for greater flexibility. A full suit is not outside the realm of possibility, but slacks and a button-down shirt are more common. Fashion options range from jeans and a dress shirt with a tie to vests with a dress shirt underneath.
Quality and Colors
Even if you select the proper attire based upon the office setting and company dress code, your efforts will be wasted if you opt for low quality or poor color choices. When it comes to the quality of your suit or ensemble, natural fabrics (such as 100% wool) are superior to blended fabrics. A blend keeps the price of a suit down, but they do not breathe well and will not last as long. Worse yet, they can look cheap and are considered unacceptable for formal events.
When it comes to colors, Monster.com suggests sticking to solid navy and solid dark gray. Pinstripe suits are viewed with skepticism, but not outright deemed inappropriate for an interview. Solid colors are preferred because they don’t distract the interviewer or attract unnecessary attention. If you do select a patterned suit, opt for subtle pinstripes on a black or dark gray suit.
Trends vs. Classic
You need to be very careful about selecting a trendy suit. Suit cuts, styles, and button layouts should be taken into consideration as you prepare your wardrobe for the second interview. Double-breasted suits should be avoided. Single-breasted suits are current, but always a safe pick. Items that come and go in the world of fashion are not suitable for interviews. Stick to the classics.
Prepare Your Wardrobe
It goes without saying, but your outfit should be cleaned, pressed, and ready to go the day of your interview. Wearing an outfit, even the best possible combination of style and color, that is wrinkled and worn sends a poor message about your cleanliness and preparation.
The way you look when you walk in comes down to more than just the clothes you are wearing. Beards are fashionable for men today, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your beard as you prepare for an interview. Do not show up without trimming your beard and shaving your neck. Even a five-o’clock shadow gives you the appearance of an individual who simply doesn’t care about their looks.
When it comes to other areas, such as your hair and nails, take the extra time to clean up. Trim your nails and get a fresh haircut. If you don’t have time for a haircut, at least take a few minutes to get your hair trimmed around your neck and ears.
If you follow the advice contained within this post, you’ll be ready to confidently walk into that second interview and show the hiring manager that you are the right man for the job. Good luck on that next interview!
Alex Outlaw is the marketing director and editorial contributor to the The Idle Man. He enjoys keeping up with the latest developments in men’s fashion, music and contemporary culture. He also enjoys sharing his fashion industry insights through blogging and social media. Keep up to speed on Twitter here.