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How to Dress for a Second Interview

by Laurie W

Being well-groomed is half the battle in business. First impressions are everything, they say, but so are second impressions. Getting to the second interview is a very good sign. A high percentage of second interviews lead to job offers, so it's no time to mess it up. Wear your best suit, but not the one you wore to the first interview. Here are a few tips on how to dress for success in your second interview.

Make sure your suit is fresh and dry-cleaned. If you can afford it, buy a second suit--a new one. But don't go crazy and stick within your budget.

Size up the suit. Have a good friend check you out. You can not go wrong with a navy suit, whether you are male or female.Men can wear khaki-colored trousers with a navy blazer and white shirt to most interviews, though a solid suit is usually better. if you are in a creative profession such as advertising or publishing, you are entitled to spruce it up a tad with either a colorful scarf or an innovative broach or similar piece of jewelry. But don't go too far out--better to err on the conservative side.

Mirror your prospective boss. That said, if your new boss-to-be (we're thinking positive here!) was in jeans and a sweatshirt in the first interview and the whole crew was wearing cut-offs, you might rethink whether you look too buttoned-up or not. Again, being on the conservative side is better--unless you feel so out of place you think you'll lose the job.If you are going for an interview, say, in a bookstore or a restaurant, you do not necessarily need to wear a suit. Wear an attractive dress, ladies, and a nice pair of slacks and shirt, gentlemen. There are some environments that scream out "casual" and you'd look ridiculous if you came in looking like an Oxford graduate. You don't want to give the appearance of someone who is haughty.

Polish your shoes! Do not wear scruffy shoes. If you are going to invest in any new additions to your wardrobe, this would be a great place to indulge. Not only will a nice pair of leather pumps make you feel great, ladies, but it'll give you that extra shot of confidence you'll need to seal the deal. Traditionally, men have not been the clotheshorses that women are, but there are a few of you out there!

Pack some deodorant and an extra pair of undergarments in your briefcase. Interviews can make some people sweat, especially in New York in the middle of the summer. If you need to buy those little sweat guards at the department store, do it.

Items you will need
  • 2 suits, navy and black
  • 2 blouses, white and red
  • Sensible black pumps (women)
  • Sensible, polished black shoes (men)
  • Briefcase

About the Author

Laurie is a widely published journalist and writer both in the U.S. and the U.K, covering everything from genetic sequencing to Maine Coons. Her stories have appeared in Time Out New York, Entrepreneur, SF Weekly, San Francisco Focus, About.com, the Hudson Dispatch, IET's Engineering & Technology, Yankee, Cape Cod Life, Victorian Homes, TechWeb and VNU's Business Travel News.