Like it or not, the summer’s over (did it actually ever start?) and autumn’s officially begun. And for a particular group of people that means one thing above all else – throwing themselves into post-university graduation job interviews. It’s a prospect that’s exciting and daunting at the same; a rite of passage that sees them step out into the big wide world and, quite possibly, take their first proper taste and bite out of it.
And, if you’ve never been through an interview that you’re hoping’ll serve as a gateway to your career of choice, well, you’ll be acutely aware there’s a lot riding on it. Offering as it does several different challenges; not least looking smart, well-heeled and – from your appearance, at least – eminently employable.
Wise up by smartening up
And to pull this off successfully, not only do you need to dust off that suit at the back of the wardrobe (or buy a new one), but you also need to ensure your footwear’s up to scratch. For guys then, that means abandoning the sneakers or flip-flops they’ve likely lived in for the last three or four years and getting out there and selecting, well, an appropriate pair of shoes.
And, don’t doubt it, you can’t coast through this one. Proper job interviews are all about making the right first impressions; there aren’t any second chances. Yes, even if the company or organisation you’ve been lucky enough to be called into for a meeting has a general (smart-)casual dress policy, abiding by that at the interview’s not going to cut the mustard. Don’t take liberties; always go a cut or two above in the smart stakes. Why? Because not only does that show you can if necessary, but also that you’re taking the role on offer seriously and mean business.
So, when it comes to footwear then, what does it mean to smarten up? Well, first things first; if you need a new suit, go select one of those first – it can serve as the lead for your men formal shoes of choice. For instance, a trendy slim suit with tapered trouser legs suggests a shoe with an Oxford or monk strap; formal but fashionable. Feel that black shoes may be just a little too staid for you (and maybe not how you want to express yourself in the interview)? Then be aware there’s nothing wrong with brown men’s work shoes with a non-black suit; they go very nicely with grey or navy suits, in particular.
And, if you’re feeling a tad more adventurous, then how about a pair of boots? A stylish yet not too trendy Chelsea boot (don’t forget the polish!) is likely to go down well with prospective employers or an antiquated leather-featuring ankle boot might be just the ticket. Fair dos, though, you may feel like pushing the boat out further – depending on the conservatism (or lack thereof) of where you’re applying for a job, of course.
In that case, a laced-cum-buckle boot in either navy or brown leather – or even suede – may be the sort of thing to catch your eye and that of your interviewer; adding a touch of spice to your appearance that suggests dynamism rather than misplaced over-confidence and over-showiness. Meanwhile, away from lace-ups, there’s always the smart, polished loafer option that’s easy to slip on and off; designed specifically for comfort (and possibly helping to relax you ahead of all those piercing interview questions!).
In the end, whatever shoe you choose to go with, be sure you don’t under-do it (looking smart’s likely to be crucial) but not overdo it (don’t look like you’ve too much bravado) – remember, that interviewer’s going to make an instant judgment call based on your appearance, whether you or even they realise it.