I’m switching to interview mode again for a couple of posts, as it is something I have been doing recently.
Today’s subject is around dress code. Should you dress formally for an interview or not?
My view is an unequivocal ‘Yes’. We may have changed so that wearing jeans and t-shirts are acceptable for IT workers who do not generally need to see customers, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but there are certain standards that should be upheld. When someone comes to an interview smartly dressed (blouse, skirt/trousers and jacket for a lady and shirt, tie & suit for a gent), then it creates a good first impression. They have taken the time to think about their appearance, and how they look. and have shown me the courtesy of dressing for a formal meeting. Interviews are not generally an informal chat (I know some can be), so should be approached formally.
Two people are meeting for the first time – they may have spoken over the phone, but neither know each other. One is interviewing another for a job – so a level of common courtesy is required.
Call me old-fashioned, but it irritates me when someone cannot be bothered to make the effort, and makes me wonder if the actually want the job they have come to be interviewed for.
Of course you can have a smartly dressed candidate who cannot do the job, and a casually dressed candidate who can do the job – but I would not want either. If that person needed to visit or meet a client, or present an important project report to very senior management, how do I know that they would dress appropriately? I could ask, but of course they would reply that they would dress formally when needed, which would lead me to ask why they were not properly addressed for an interview then!
There is one exception, and that is where they have requested beforehand not to wear a tie or suit jacket. I understand that if someone has a half day for an interview, and they are in the office for the rest of the day in a suit, people may guess they have an interview, which is not ideal, but an advance request is a must.
Common courtesy can be very undervalued – but not by me!