Interviews: Dress to impress?
If you want a topic of conversation that is guaranteed to split opinion, talk about dress code at interviews!
Just this weekend I was talking to a friend of mine who is looking for new job. He had been turned away from an interview for turning up in jeans. His argument was that they are “dark, smart jeans”. Equally, just today we had a piece of horror feedback that a candidate had turned up to an interview wearing a “grubby hoodie”. The interviewer called me and said all he could concentrate on was the huge blob of ketchup that had landed in the middle of his hoodie. Not a good look.
Some people would say “who cares what you wear, it’s can you do the job that counts”. I get that, but I am a bit old fashioned and always recommend being smartly dressed when interviewing.
Yes, skill trumps attire all day. But what you wear to an interview is important for so many reasons, as we will see. And by the way, if any of this peaks your interest, then why not get in touch? My contact details are at the bottom.
What you wear tells a story – Take the example from earlier. The chap in the “grubby hoodie” was a no and part of the reason revolved around two aspects of his attire. Firstly, “if he is this sloppy when he is trying to impress us, what is he going to be like if we hire him?” Ok that can cut both ways but I get where he is coming from. Secondly “he clearly doesn’t care so what else doesn’t he care about”. They told me about his technical task which was full of little mistakes. Nothing major but equally showed poor attention to detail. They drew the link between sloppy attire and sloppy results.
No one can mark you down for making an effort – I have learnt that interviewing is all about making an impression. You want to make the best, most positive impression you can. In the tech world lots of business operate a dress down policy and it can be very tempting to assume that you can go to your interview in similar dressed down clothing. Not so. In my view you can go in dress down when you get the job. For now, you have to impress the team and earn the position. No one ever gets marked down for making an effort.
You can focus on what matters – Steve Jobs wore the same outfit day in day out. He did that simply so he didn’t have to waste time thinking about what to wear. The same applies to your interview wardrobe. A shirt, suit and shoes takes minimal thought frees up your head space to nail that interview.
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