Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Words Fail Me Dept: Making an Impression

When Derek Johnson was interviewing candidates for a marketing job at his tech company, one applicant arrived in a business suit. "It put us on edge," says Mr. Johnson, founder and CEO of Mr. Johnson believed the job candidate was presenting a false image of himself. The suit, he felt, was tantamount to a lie.

If wearing a suit is a lie, is combing the hair a fib?

Would an ironed shirt represent repressive middle-class values?

Read the rest of Christina Binkley's article on employers who expect you to dress down.


Derek Johnson said...

I would let those slide for you, don't worry!

- Derek Johnson (CEO Tatango)

Michael Wade said...


I'm glad to hear that! I thought the reaction to the suit is the flip-side to the buttoned-down executive teams who rule out a well-qualified candidate who dresses more casually.


DarkoV said...

In this day and age, it's a crap shoot how people are dressed for their interview. While personally I love to see folks come in with a nice suit on, I tend to look more at the comfort with which they carry themselves in their "I'm impressing you, aren't I" attire. If they are well-suited (wardrobe wise, I mean) but they seem to have the shakes as it's apparent they are not used to wearing a suit, I will address that at some point in the interview.
If they come in casually attired, I will take note whether their pants/skirt and shirts are ironed, their shoes polished and hole-less (unbelievable how many folks seem to be walking around with ventilation in their footwear) and that their socks are matched, not drooping, and holeless. Casual is fine; sloppy is not.

However, the one thing that I truly count on for a solid judgment call is if the job candidate and I go out for a meal. It's amazing how much is revealed by a person when they're out in the public dining experience. At least for myself, hiring decisions are quickly and clearly simplified once you've broken bread.

Anonymous said...

I'm uncomfortable in ladies' business dress. Interviews are the only time that I wear ill-fitting clothing. Ladies' dress clothes are made to look good on immobile mannequins and the shoes are not built with feet in mind. But I've always sucked it up and worn that stuff because it "shows employers that you mean business." What? It doesn't?? How does the interviewee know whether the interview board is put off by business dress or demands it as entry fee?