Clothes must project right corporate image

By Katrina Kelly

Students should know how to dress for an interview because wearing the wrong outfit can affect the outcome.

“Students should dress professionally, as if they were reporting for their first day at work,” said Gary Scott, NIU’s Career Planning and Placement Center director.

He recommended a suit and tie for men and a similar business-like jacket and skirt outfit for women.

Scott said some students may have their first interview with a personnel director and they should be aware of the initial impact they have.

“An initial bad impression can be made in the first 30 seconds or minute of an interview,” he said.

Scott outlined three ways students can determine if they are dressed properly for their interview.

“They (students) can stop in and talk to one of our counselors, look at some books we have here at the center or stop into the office where you are interviewing and see how others are dressed,” Scott said.

John Molloy, in his best-selling book “Dress For Success,” wrote, “The way we dress has remarkable impact on the people we meet professionally … and greatly (sometimes crucially) affects how they treat us.”

Many major corporations have dress codes because the employees interact with professionals on a daily basis, Molloy’s book stated.

“A lot of students don’t want to be stamped into a mold,” Scott said. “They don’t want to feel like they are wearing a uniform.”

Molloy recommends a dark suit for men with a lighter colored shirt and darker tie. A solid tie will go with any suit pattern, he said and dark socks should be worn.

“The darker the suit, the more authority it transmits,” Molloy’s book stated.

In his follow-up work, “The Woman’s Dress For Success Book,” Molloy wrote that women sometimes let the fashion industry or their money situation influence their choice of business clothes.

When choosing a business suit, women should pay particular attention to style, material and pattern.

An ideal suit would be a solid-color wool or linen jacket and skirt in a gray or medium blue color.

Women should wear dark pumps with a closed toe and closed heel, and skin-colored hose, Molloy said in his second book.

“Business majors don’t have quite as much freedom,” said Pam Pannier, assistant manager of Maurices, 260 E. Lincoln Hwy. She said she encourages suits because of their “corporate image.”

Pannier said feminism can be added to a suit by wearing a scarf, bow or belt.

Pannier mentioned several things to avoid when choosing clothes for an interview, including patterned hose, a dress without a jacket or a sheer blouse.

Career Closet Manager Yooni Chung, 209 E. Lincoln Hwy., said she advises customers to wear classic colors like navy, gray or black and simple gold or silver jewelery.

“It is best to dress as if you were applying for a job one or two steps higher than the one for which you are interviewing,” Molloy said in his books.