When it comes to job interview attire, most men will take the safe bet and go for a suit and tie. However, for some industries, the suit and tie may be overdoing it slightly. Granted, you shouldn't be rejected on the basis of being overdressed, but first impressions (that's the first 30 seconds) do count and subconsciously your interviewer (plus the receptionist and potential new colleagues you meet in the lift) will be making judgements about you by what you're wearing.
So if a suit and tie isn't your thing, what are the alternatives? Let's take the creative industries as an example. These industries are all about thinking outside the box. But a matching suit and tie says 'conventional', 'safe' and dare I say, 'boring'. However this can depend on the role you're being interviewed for and the amount of client contact you'll have.
Smart interview attire is a very subjective issue. One outfit may be acceptable to one interviewer but not to another. That's why it's important to err on the side of caution, but this doesn't mean you have to stick with the usual suit and tie.
Whatever the position you're being interviewed for, here's my top 10 tips on getting it right in the wardrobe department:
1. It goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway – avoid jeans and trainers, no matter how smart or new they may be.
2. Go for the 'shirt tucked in' style. A shirt outside the trousers can look smart (see image 2), but in my opinion it's a gamble for an interview.
3. If you know people who work in the industry, speak to them and get their opinion on what you should wear.
4. Whatever you wear, make sure you feel comfortable in it. If it feels awkward, this may transmit to your interview performance.
5. Wear smart shoes and give them a good polish. If your shoes have seen better days, buy a new pair. You'll need them if you get the job anyway. For inspiration, check out the men's shoes from House of Fraser.
6. In your research of the company, find out what staff wear to work and go for a grade slighter smarter than the standard attire. It may require a spy trip to the premises to watch staff come and go, but be aware of dress down Fridays!
7. Smart doesn't have to mean matching jacket and trousers (see image 3). Just remember point 6 above.
8. If you're often criticized for looking as if you got dressed in complete darkness, it might help to get a second, or even a third opinion from someone whose dress sense you admire.
9. Remove any facial bling. That includes the tongue. An earring/stud is fine.
10. Check for any preventable wardrobe malfunctions in the men's room before you go in for the interview.