Herring Shoes

What shoes should I wear to a job interview?

11 August 2023

This is a tough question as the world of work has changed beyond recognition in recent years. The pandemic meant many of us swapped formal office attire for more casual clothing while we worked from our homes. But work life has shifted again, with more of us heading back into the office by request or by choice. Some of the casual nature of clothing is still in evidence but all that needs to be put aside for a job interview. 

As an interviewer and an interviewee, I have always dressed smartly. This is usually the first time you will meet your future employee or employer in person. Yes, you may have had an initial call or video meeting, but a face-to-face interview is the real deal where from-the-waist-up attire is not enough!

Shoes are also a good barometer of a person’s demeanour. I am not talking about value here. No-one expects you to splash the cash in pursuit of a new role, but rather making sure what you do wear on your feet is in keeping with the occasion.

Herring Aldgate briefcase and Herring Carnaby brogues

Even if your would-be new career is in a more relaxed industry sector, never wear trainers or flip-slops. You can still exude casual professionalism but not in your sneaks and certainly not with toes and heels bared! If you only have one pair of smart shoes, then plan your outfit around these because, believe me, people will be looking at your feet.

That said, you do not have to quash your individuality! Shoes and boots can be a real window to your soul (not sole), and give an indication of your personality, which interviewers want to see. I am going to offer a few suggestions below, but if you already have your interview shoes lined up, make sure they are clean! 

Old shoes can be given a fresh lease of life with some care. Make sure they are polished, brushed and whatever is required so they look as good as they can be. A clean pair of shoes shows you take care of your appearance and your things! If you show care in these areas, the assumption will be that you will take care of your work commitments too.

If you are looking to invest in a new pair of shoes for an interview, then here are a few suggestions that will also work well for a range of other occasions.

A classic pair of brogues vs a classic pair of Oxford capped shoes

Black Oxfords
A classic black Oxford is a real investment, especially if you are going for a role with a formal business or organisation where suits are expected…think law and accountancy firms. You cannot be too smart for these interviews. Aside from the interview, they will be ideal work shoes for the future, and the perfect shoe for black-tie occasions, wedding and funerals too. We have a wide range available that includes Goodyear-welted styles that can be repaired for many years to come to make your investment a sustainable choice.

Brown brogues
I have gone for brown brogues as they look great with navy and dark grey suits, but we have plenty of black brogues and semi-brogues too. Not just the shoe of choice for the country set, they are also suitable for city slickers and town-based go-getters. The brogue is undoubtedly a formal shoe and will prove you are taking your interview seriously.

Monk shoes
Monk shoes show a little more flair but not in a disrespectful way. Single, double and triple buckled monks are super-smart and are just something a little different from a traditional lace-up. This means they stand out but not too much. I think they offer a hint of swagger! They also transfer to the weekend and can be worn in both smart and smart-casual environments.

If you are a boot man, this is ok too. You can get boot versions of Oxfords, brogues and monks. I am not a fan of the Chelsea boot with a formal suit as I like to see a little detail and finesse – such as lacing or broguing – but for less formal interviews, they could do the trick. Leave your heavy cleated boots at home though especially if they are full of mud! Our aim is to look sleek and stylish not rugged and ready-for-anything…unless you are interviewing for the SAS!

Want something a little different?
These are genres of the above but have a little edge to them if you want to remain loyal to your personality without condemning your chances of being hired. For instance, the Disraeli is a standout slip-on Oxford while a spectator shoe, like our Henley, is a respectful statement. Lastly, what about a wholecut like the Chaucer? These will never be described as run of the mill, but they still ooze sophistication, style and professionalism.

Hope the above guide has given you a few pointers. An interview can be very nerve-wracking but get the shoes right and that is one less thing to worry about…and may even be the clincher against another candidate! Good luck.

1 Comment

  • Reply Fernando Huesa Fernández 15 August 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Greetings from Havana!! Thanks for your help.

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