Whether you’re a first-time, not-in-a-long-time, or frequent job interviewer, your head-to-toe appearance can help you get hired or quickly shown to the door. “Appropriate” is your mantra here — not every industry calls for a conservative business suit and forgettable footwear. To a savvy interviewer, shoes can be a tip-off to the qualities of the wearer. Are you a style maven, a deal closer, a detail person or an unbridled creative? Play it safe but don’t default to dull to get the job – here’s your guide to what shoes to wear on an interview.
How High to Fly
Women have a harder time settling on the perfect look for a job interview because the “uniform” is so loosely defined. You could opt for a business suit; a dress and jacket; a skirt, blouse and non-matching jacket; or pressed khakis and a nice shirt. Whatever the venue and style, heel height is an issue. The best choices are between medium pumps and conservative flats. No teetering into the human resources office on your killer stilettos, trendy platforms or faux leopard-fur ballet slippers — and skip the sneakers.
Be Safe But Sophisticated
Your professional self needs professional shoes — you’ll wear them again so invest in the best you can manage. Closed-toe pumps with a medium heel are classic. Change it up a bit with nude instead of standard black leather. Nude pumps give you a long elegant leg line with a skirt or dress. Heels with pants are just as sophisticated as heels with a suit. Slender black side-zip or lace-up short boots are an acceptable alternative to pumps under a pants suit. Power flats are most impressive in leather or fabric; color is fine, wild patterns, not so much. Save the exuberance for a discreet scarf, a touch of color in your blouse, or a distinctive but non-showy piece of simple jewelry. Here are a few of our favorite basic, classic pumps to wear on an interview:
LAUREN RALPH LAUREN Zabrina Pump
Naturalizer Lennox Pump
Calvin Klein Dolly Pump
The Little Black Shoe
Guys don’t get a free pass on footwear when it’s time for a job interview. A good pair of black or cordovan leather slip-on or lace-up business shoes with a sleek line and leather soles always makes an impressive cap to the right business suit. Think of those good quality gleaming wing tips as a long-term investment; they’ll wear well and serve as an unspoken reminder of your reliable taste. Leather loafers are a touch more casual but still work for an office job — and if the office is in a creative company, loafers are a bit more dressy and definitely more respectful than totally trendy sneakers. Cool kicks can work once you’re on the payroll but don’t flaunt your colorful personality before they know your work. You can’t go wrong in shoes from brands like Ben Sherman, Florsheim, and Kenneth Cole.
So, you’ve regretfully set your gladiator sandals, mile-high platforms and B-boy sneakers aside, and you’re ready to power stride into that interview. Do a last-minute check to be sure your made-for-the-job shoes are clean, scuff-free, well-heeled, nicely polished and not trailing any bits of street debris after you. Keep your interview shoes in job-offer shape with regular polishing; taps on heels and toes to off-set wear; new laces; and cedar shoe trees to hold their shape and absorb foot odors. Test-drive any shoes you haven’t worn for a while to see if they still fit properly. And invest in a pair of waterproof overshoes for crucial job interviews that take place in a downpour. Slip them off and stash them in a plastic bag in your portfolio or briefcase once you hit dry land.
Best of luck landing the new job!
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