what should a young man wear for a job interview for a bank customer service job?

My son is 27, and holds a degree in Business Management, but in this horrible economy, he is still looking for a decent job.

He has an interview next week for a customer service position at a bank. It’s not exactly what he’d hoped for as he was studying for his degree, but as I have advised him, it’s at least a decent wage, and there is a chance to advance, unlike in his current retail job.

How should he dress? He’s not, after all, applying for a managerial position, but banks being a generally conservative business environment, I’m not sure if he should wear a conservative suit, or business casual, such as khakis, button up, and a tie.

What do you guys think?

For the record, I’m a residential builder since 1982, so I’m not much help for him in this respect.

I don’t think you can go wrong with a suit and tie.

FWIW, every man in my family was in the trades (plasterers, machinists and carpenters), but I was always told it was FAR better to overdress for a job interview rather than under. Wearing a suit shows a certain seriousness you take the job with. I wore a suit when I applied for a job in the Education training department at my university (sorta officey, not quite teaching job), and also when I applied for a job at Radio Shack. I got both of them. I definitely think a bank job is more formal than the 'shack!

Suit, without question in my opinion.
Dark suit, white shirt (well pressed), yellow, red or blue tie, balck shoes - for the love of GOD don’t let him wear brown shoes with a grey suit.

I agree, suit and tie. I think it’s a sign of respect to the interviewer, and I think it’s better to be a little overdressed than underdressed for a job interview. Banking is also a rather conservative industry; they are asking the public to entrust their money to them.

I would suggest a surreptitious visit to the bank where he would be working if he was hired, note the way people who have responsibilities/positions similar to the one he is applying for, and then dress exactly as those people do.

That said, he probably wouldn’t be wrong to simply wear the standard monkey suit complete with garotte (that modern symbol of the yoke of subservience). I’ve been told by many that a man, at least, can’t really overdress for an interview.

Definitely leave the fright wig and the rubber nose at home.

If he has a suit he should wear it, if he doesn’t I don’t think this job would justify going out and buying a new one. A well pressed long sleeve shirt and pressed slacks will probably do the trick. Khakis might be pushing it, it would depend on the corporate culture.

Put me in the suit camp. It never hurts.

You never go wrong with a suit. Unless it’s a space suit.

I work in the insanely casual world of Internet startups, and even I wear a tie to interviews. (Though I usually don’t go full-on suit.)

Wear a suit
It’s never inappropriate to wear a suit
When in doubt, wear a suit

You should always dress for the position you want to be in, not the one you are in.

He has to wear a suit. Showing up in khakis screams, “I don’t really care if I get this job or not.”

You have to dress nicer than what you’d regularly wear to work. I’ve only worked in business casual environments, but no one ever interviewed for those jobs in less than business formal attire.

Suit and tie. Shined shoes. Get a haircut. Clipped and clean fingernails. Carry a working ball point pen. Turn off cell phone. Firm handshake. Speak clearly. Smile. And never ever chew gum. Good luck!

I’ll add another vote for suit.

I wanted to add at 27 I think you can stop referring to him as a ‘young man’

I agree about the suit. Also, my dad several times made me actually dress up in the suit and do a mock interview with him. This was a great idea, because when I was at the actual interview, I had the feeling that I had already done this before and I felt more natural.

Depends where you live - here in the Pacific Northwest a suit would scream “douchebag”. Second the vote for the surreptitious visit to the bank.

Listen to Barney Stinson.

Or a birthday suit. That could be awkward.

Another vote for suit.

And he needs to be told how to dress for an interview?

A suit. Never go with khakis unless you’re wanting a job on the loading docks (which means Always overdress for the position you’re going for.) Doesn’t have to be a white shirt and dark tie (funeral-looking.) A nice color shirt with a plaid tie (from what I’ve seen it’s the latest style for men) means “I’m serious but I’m not stodgy.” Good luck! A foot in is a step up.

Do NOt let him wear your long white beard and yellow robe.

It’s a bank. Wear a suit. I’ve never interacted with anyone at my banks who are not wearing suits (or conservative business-y dresses on women).

No strong aftershave or cologne, preferably zero. He needs to be neutral in aroma, since they will be sizing up how they think their customers will react to him.

Thanks for the feedback.

To panache45, I’d note that though I’m a builder, I have 3 degrees, and I don’t remember taking any college classes as to dress. Being that it’s an entry position in a bank is why he isn’t sure about how to dress for the interview, because in this area of West Georgia, tellers and customer service reps generally dress business casual, or even khakis, shirt, and tie. The HR lady told my wife, with whom she has worked, that she has already received around 250 applications, so in a market like this, you start re-evaluating every little thing about a job search.

Speaking of which, I think it’s probably the toughest job market, at least in our area, that I can ever remember. I read the other day that over 50% of college graduates of the last 6 years are unemployed, or underemployed relative to their degree. I feel bad for those younger folks trying to start a career in this economy.

Thanks again for the responses. I appreciate it.