Shoes to Wear to a Job Interview

Men, do the shoes you wear to a job interview matter? They do if you wear the wrong ones!

To start with, no matter how trendy they may be, sandals are never appropriate for a job interview. Whether you are interviewing for the position of janitor or CEO of the company how you dress and conduct yourself at your interview makes a statement about you. You go in prepared to interview for the job you wish to have, not necessarily for job to which you have applied.

While the company might just be desperate enough to hire a poorly dressed applicant, maybe or maybe not, you probably will not be going anywhere in that company if you made a poor impression at your interview. They are just using you to fill a position. Probably until they can find someone better.

I have worked as an assistant area manager, managing statewide operations, for a large, interstate corporation. In this capacity I handled hiring for the state in which I managed. Applicants came into my office dressed in everything from a business suit to shorts and t-shirts with everything in between. Depending on the job position and our desperation, I might end up hiring the "shorts and t-shirt guy." If, three months later, an opportunity came up for me to promote one of my people and I had to choose some one, I would look first at their job performance. Then, if all things were equal, fair or unfair, at the first impression they had made. That first impression remained with me. I must admit, "shorts and t-shirt guy" would usually end up staying on the bottom rung while the man or woman who took the time and effort to prepare for their interview and who looked presentable would move on. It simply said something positive, about them, that they had bothered to take the time and effort to look nice for their interview.

I recall one memorable incident when a young man came in for an interview dressed, not in a suit but, still presentably, in Dockers and a nice shirt. I could live with this for the level of job for which he had applied. However, what kept going through my mind was, "you cannot afford shoes?" The young man was wearing a pair of "flip-flops" with no socks, which looked as though they had come from a dime store,. To me this showed a "devil may care" attitude which seemed to come out during the interview. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps his "shoes," or lack thereof, simply skewed my thinking. The point is, if you are poorly dressed in general and your choice of footwear, in particular, can influence the interviewer. You must pay attention to every aspect of your dress, right down to the shoes on your feet.

Now that I trust I have made my point about the importance of paying attention to what you are wearing, down to the shoes on your feet, what sort of shoes should a man wear?

The answer is, "nothing which attracts attention." Not attention on the shoes anyway.

The shoes a man wears to a job interview should be presentable, clean, shined and plain. The focus of the interviewer should be on the man, not his attire, particularly not his shoes. Basic black or brown leather dress shoes are usually best. They should match the outfit you are wearing. If you are wearing a three piece business suit then casual brown loafers are not appropriate. However, you might get away with those if you are daring to interview in Dockers and a casual shirt. That is not my idea of a good interview outfit but, these days some people are being, "informal." Make certain your shoes match up to what you are wearing.

The shoes should be comfortable for you. I have been to a class on interviewing where the instructor said that you "should not worry about how comfortable your interview clothes and shoes are, if they are uncomfortable, just stick it out." No, if your shoes and clothes are uncomfortable you will look uncomfortable and the interviewer will pick up on that. They may then misunderstand it and think it has something to do with you not being comfortable with the job you are interviewing for. Wear comfortable shoes.

Let us review, wear presentable, plain, clean, shined shoes, which match the outfit you are wearing and which are comfortable. That about sums it up. Good luck in your job hunt.