In my younger days, we all had “interview clothing” that we wore whenever we had a job interview. The men wore suits, white shirts, ties, and leather shoes. The women wore dresses or skirts and blouses that buttoned up to the neck and 2″ heels and leather pocketbooks. Many of us also wore hats and gloves.
It comes as a jarring reminder how very much times have changed. A woman was recruited for a programming job and her concept of dressing appropriately for a job interview was a far cry from being suitable.
She thought the interview went very well. She met with a female hiring manager and two male engineers and she felt good about the whole process and positive about her chances. She liked the environment, got along with her interviewers, and correctly answered all of their programming questions.
When she didn’t hear back from them, she got in touch with the recruiter to find out what happened. The recruiter told her that while they were impressed with her technical skills and personality, they weren’t going to hire her because she wasn’t dressed appropriately. They said she looked more like she was about to go clubbing than going to a job interview.
Even with today’s lax dress code, common sense should have prevailed. Aside from the fact that in these tough economic times there are hundreds of applicants for every job, it stands to reason that if you want the job badly enough you do your homework.
If she wasn’t sure of the dress code, she had two options. She could have asked her recruiter to call the company and ask about their dress code or she could have been the one who called the company and asked about their dress code. It doesn’t matter how the others are dressed, but when you go for a job interview, it’s an insult to the interviewer to be dressed inappropriately.
Let’s say that everyone is wearing jeans and polo shirts. It’s still more appropriate to dress as though this interview is important to you. And if you are hired, on your first day there, even if everyone is wearing jeans, you should wear a pair of slacks. The next day, if you’re sure that jeans are the accepted dress code, then it’s all right to wear them, but not before you know for sure.
These are tough times and with so many qualified applicants looking for jobs, it stands to reason that you’ll want to put your best foot forward, and that means that your interview clothing has to show respect for the people who are going to interview you. Think of it this way, you are representing the company and you don’t get another chance to make a first impression.