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You always want to put your best foot forward when meeting someone for the first time. That starts with dressing the part, especially for a job interview.

Except for rare exceptions, men should always wear a suit and tie and women should always dress in appropriate business attire.

While you may be applying for a position at a company that is “business casual” and would never require you to wear a suit to the office that is irrelevant. You are not going to your job. You are going to meet the people you want to impress enough to give you a job.

Suits do not need to be black or blue, and ties don’t need to be solid. But suits should not be neon green, and I would advise keeping your fish ties at home too. It’s good to show off some style, just don’t go over the top to the point that the suit becomes the subject of the interview.

Your clothes matter for a few reasons. First, it shows that you are taking this interview seriously. You don’t want to look like you just stopped in to meet them on your way to do something more important. Second, it is a visual representation of your preparation. A good interviewer will spend time preparing questions for your interview and is most likely taking time out of their busy day to meet with you. Your being prepared shows that person that you took equal time preparing before you even open your mouth. Lastly, it will improve your chances of successfully getting the position, particularly if this is a client facing role, and isn’t that the point?

The rare exceptions mentioned earlier is when you are specifically told not to wear a suit. Perhaps you are applying for a job that will involve manual labor, and you are going to be expected to demonstrate something physical on the interview. Then it would be wise to ask ahead of time what would be appropriate attire for the interview. As another example, I have a client which is a completely casual environment, and they tell all candidates to dress comfortably and DO NOT wear a suit. I had one candidate think that they would distinguish themselves by being the only person to come in a suit. They did distinguish themselves…by being the only candidate who was incapable of following basic instructions. They took it as red flag, and he did not get the job.

In such a competitive job market every detail matters. Don’t let the easy ones be your downfall. Dress the part, let the interviewer check off that box, and move on to showing them why they would be lucky to have you as part of their organization!

– Brian Tarsi

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