Question of the day: What is the worst thing a candidate showed up to an interview wearing?

Time for a quick Recruiter rant. Dress for success. It seems this would be common knowledge for most but it is usually included in every interview tip article out there. As part of my send-out candidate prep, I admit to mentioning this tip but does it hold any merit? There are recruiting tales of candidates showing up in sweatpants, golf clothes, surgical scrubs- you name it, but are these just urban legends? It makes for a great Question of the Day: What is the worst thing a candidate showed up to an interview wearing?

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White see-through jeans with her underwear peaking out as well as a see through long sleeve top over a spaghetti strap shirt. However, the attire was nothing compared to what was actually coming out of her mouth, but that's a story for another time!

This is a topic that I could go on and on about, tons of different stories.  One that I will never forget, I had a candidate come  to my office before his interview at the client site with a huge suitcase.  He was dressed in sweats and wanted me to help him choose his clothes to wear to the interview.  In his suitcase were 3 different suits with shirts, ties and shoes.  He was color blind, recently divorced and needed the help that he usually got from his Wife to put his clothes together.  He really wanted this job and was afraid he wouldn't get the colors coordinated well so he decided to bring several combinations into the office so I could help him make the right choices.  We put it together, he looked great and actually got the job.  I have not had to dress anyone else since then.

A baby in a sling. Seriously. I didn't know what it was at first until it started making noise... I'm a mom but I've NEVER taken my kid, no matter how little or quiet, to a job interview.

Carrier marketing rep wore a chartreuse/green sport coat and checkered pants.

Didn’t get the job!

My personal favourite was a guy who came in wearing slippers.  Yep, you read that right, slippers.  My second favourite was a dead ringer for Ali G.

At one company, a very plump and well-endowed young lady came in wearing an extremely low-cut top - fortunately, the person who greeted her (a female security guard) suggested she cover up before entering the facility for her interview. 

One time a young man seated across the table from me in the interview room proceeded to wag and curl his pierced tongue around the entire time. He also blurted out names of the meds he was on... 

When I was helping staff up an office in Arkansas, I saw so many interesting and unfortunate wardrobe choices and questionable grooming habits. The "people of Walmart" images are quite accurate to describe what that was like.

I've seen people pushing baby strollers, wearing ball caps, wallet chains and shorts at job fairs as if they are cruising through an amusement park with the family.  

The "slobbing of America" is a gruesom thing to watch.  Maybe it has something to do with the TV commercials we see now with people dressed like refugees from "Falling Skys".  Who are Polly and Ester and where did they get that much spanex.


@Chris, the worst thing about my pal with the fireglow green tongue piercing was that when he said something and started to close his mouth the thing would glow.  The hiring manager who interviewed him said it was the most amazing thing she had ever witnessed.  Like an alien.  She could not remember a word he said, but thought he would do great as a traffic cone with a blinking light on it.

 The next one i sent her was flown in from Pitttsburg.  I mentioned to him that if he had any piercings he would need to remove them.  He did.  When i picked him up at the airport the first thing i noticed were the giant holes in his ear lobes.  You could read the "pick up passengers here" sign through the holes. HIs ear lobes were so stretched that he looked like he had removed the wheel from a Ford 150.  He didn't get hired either.  However they did wonder what sound he would make if he stood out in the wind.

I had a candidate show up in cut-off sweat pants (shorts), t-shirt and flip-flops. I understand that it was 117 outside but, still, my office is in an air conditioned building!

I have four that are worth noting.  Working in IT you get some people who don't have the best social skills.

  1. Guy came in to interview with me wearing a "wife-beater" under a black blazer with torn jeans.
  2. Had a guy who was a genius show up to an interview with a 30 year old leather bomber jacket. We asked him to take it off, and he refused, saying it was his lucky jacket.  It was about 2 sizes too small.  He did get the job, however.
  3. Had a guy, who looked like the dwarf from Lord of the Rings (the short one with the red hair).  He hadn't worn a suit in years...had every button buttoned, and looked uncomfortable.  It was also about 2 sizes too small.  We asked him to take it off, and he he did...showing short sleeves with pit stains.
  4. And last but not least, I had a guy come in who use to work for Intel.  Brilliant guy.  Hadn't shaved, trimmed, or showered in about 3 months.  His beard was flat on one side of his face from where he slept on it.  Had a tie on at least...wouldn't stop playing with the beard though.

Once a grown and elderly women showed up with a tank top, very short shorts (Daisy Dukes) with a tattoo on her chest that read "Sexy" on top of a heart with a crown. Managers feedback "We would not be moving foward with "Sexy" -not  a culture fit. I was so embarrassed.

Another one was when a high level C++ Programmer came in to meet the manager with "mechanic hands" (dirty finger nails, and greasy). The manager asked him. Soooo what is it that you program again?

i just spit coffee.

Roberto C Abreu said:

 Managers feedback "We would not be moving foward with "Sexy" -

did some thought on this over lunch.  my answer would've been "you're not 'Bringin Sexy Back?'"

Bill Schultz said:

i just spit coffee.

Roberto C Abreu said:

 Managers feedback "We would not be moving foward with "Sexy" -

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