General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

How do you reply to "Am I dressed ok for an interview?" from a stranger?

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Surianne:
I think that in case like this you were asked a question as an impartial stranger -- so answering honestly would be the best thing to do.

I've seen some completely crazy interviewers when it comes to clothing, though.  Two examples:

One of my friends interviewing for a library student job got chewed out by the interviewer about her clothing.  The interviewer said her outfit was completely inappropriate for a job interview because it didn't match.  My poor friend had no idea what she was talking about (since she was dressed in black pants, black shoes, and a white top), and asked for clarification.  The interviewer said that it was obvious -- her shoes were glossy black, but her pants were matte black.  The interviewer would never dream of hiring someone with shiny shoes and non-shiny pants, and it clearly demonstrated a lack of attention to detail.

Another time, I was one of the interviewers.  My supervisor asked me to help interview some assistants.  One woman impressed me, and my supervisor didn't like her.  She kept saying vague things about how the woman's personality was clearly wrong for our department, and that she was too boring for the job.  When I asked what she meant, my supervisor said "Well I would never hire someone who came to an interview dressed head to toe in black.  She looked like she was going to a funeral!  That just tells me everything about her personality."  I mentioned that the woman had been wearing a navy blue suit, and a cream blouse underneath,  and my supervisor said "Well that's close enough to black" and refused to hire her.

So I've learned that often clothing is just a way for the interview to project his/her prejudices on a candidate.  That's not the kind of person you want to work for, anyway.

Marbles:
I would say that a knit sweater vest is not formal enough for an office job interview. She should have been wearing a suit jacket.


--- Quote from: Surianne on May 07, 2013, 08:32:20 PM ---So I've learned that often clothing is just a way for the interview to project his/her prejudices on a candidate.  That's not the kind of person you want to work for, anyway.

--- End quote ---

I have to agree with this, though.

delabela:
If some random person asked me that, I would be too afraid to point out anything wrong - how are they going to fix it out in public?  I guess unless it's something easy to fix, like a sweater mis-buttoned.

If I knew the person asking was in a position to fix something, I might make gentle suggestions. 

(On a side note, is it super old-fashioned of me that open-toed shoes seem off to me in a office setting?  It probably is.)

Fleur:

--- Quote from: delabela on May 08, 2013, 01:33:39 AM ---If some random person asked me that, I would be too afraid to point out anything wrong - how are they going to fix it out in public?  I guess unless it's something easy to fix, like a sweater mis-buttoned.

If I knew the person asking was in a position to fix something, I might make gentle suggestions. 

(On a side note, is it super old-fashioned of me that open-toed shoes seem off to me in a office setting?  It probably is.)
--- End quote ---

I think it is :) I am fairly conservative and work in a conservative field, and open toes would not make me raise an eyebrow.

lowspark:

--- Quote from: MummySweet on May 07, 2013, 05:52:41 PM ---I think the responses here are going to vary, but I personally don't think "business casual" is formal enough for interviewing for a professional position, even in companies that wear business casual on a daily basis.   In a similar situation, I think I might advise someone to err on the side of being over-dressed rather than under-dressed for an interview.

--- End quote ---

That's a good point. I guess I just based my response to her on what I've seen job candidates in my company wearing. Some dress up in suits but most dress in business casual. The last person that I was involved in hiring came to the interview dressed in business casual. Some of the people we interviewed for that position were dressed better but didn't have the qualifications or for some other reason (other than clothing) didn't pass the interview. So maybe I'm too easy on the clothing issue but as long as the candidate shows up in clothing appropriate for the office, I'm way more focused on their answers to the interview questions, their qualifications, their demeanor, etc.



--- Quote from: AvidReader on May 07, 2013, 06:03:26 PM ---Unfortunately for this person, the damage was done since she had already interviewed and was told by the interviewer that she was not dressed appropriately.   When she asked you the question, you of course, had no idea of what had already occured.  I think she was just seeking validation that she was dressed OK for an interview. 

In the woulda'/shoulda' universe, I might have asked what type of job she was interviewing for and then made a general comment that I've often read that for a job candidate to stand out, it is recommended to dress for an interview as though you were interviewing for your boss's job, in other words, dress for the next higher level on the org chart than what you are interviewing for today.   Of course this will vary depending on the type of job for which one is interviewing. 

--- End quote ---

That's pretty good advice. I have no idea what position she was interviewing for and it didn't occur to me to ask. I will say, though, that I've never seen anyone at that company dressed better than business casual. Not to say that I know what everyone there wears everyday, but generally from what I've seen, they all dress in business casual or lesser. Of course, someone going to interview there couldn't know that....


--- Quote from: Ceallach on May 07, 2013, 06:28:07 PM ---For a job interview you should dress more formally than the company you are interviewing at, not match their style.  So if they do business casual, you wear a suit.  If its a super casual work environment (warehouse etc) you wear business casual.   The extra effort shows that you care about putting your best foot forward, not just the minimum.  You're showing what you are capable of and the level of respect you have for the company.

And I would gently suggest that if asked directly, although just the first part, I wouldn't go on and on or make them feel bad.  Just let them know the general rule for next time.

--- End quote ---


.... and yeah, it might be more of a case of the bolded in Ceallach's quote.



--- Quote from: Surianne on May 07, 2013, 08:32:20 PM ---So I've learned that often clothing is just a way for the interview to project his/her prejudices on a candidate.  That's not the kind of person you want to work for, anyway.

--- End quote ---

The bolded from Surianne: that is exactly what I was feeling but couldn't put it into words.

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