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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I had a guy show up as a walking wrinkle. Literally, the most wrinkled clothing I've ever seen.   I mean, he was worse than my sons were at 16!  Needed a shave and wore blown out shoes, too!

Since he was a referral (yikes!) I mentioned to him that one typically dressed appropriately for a job interview.  His response was that the job (as a driver) wasn't that important and that he had been told by his youth pastor that what he wore didn't matter.  Needless to say...

There was another guy who desperately needed work and he just looked shabby.  I asked him a few questions and found out that he had worn the best that he owned.  I hired him and he has been one of our best drivers.  Just goes to show that you never can tell.

A smart pinstripe suit... and purple Crocs!!!

@ Kerris - reminded me of a recruiter friend of mien who had a candidate show up in a smart pinstrie suit... and pearls!

Would have been o.k., if it had been a female candidate. :)

There's no accounting for taste Amber!!!  :-)

coincidentally, I just saw this online:

He seems to have just wandered in looking for work rather than being invited for interview but still.....

I'd rather have candidates wearing clothes, albeit completely inappropriate ones!!

A girll that showed up in a bikini and unbutton blouse and flipflops because she and her friends were going to the beach.  And by the way could we hurry, they had a big day planned - sure go ahead we're done here!


One guy showed up in a tattered and frayed shirt, stained tie, suit too small and pants too short, holes in his socks that were mismatched, green teeth and greenish brown in between his teeth, filthy glasses (how could he see?), shoes with holes in the bottom and scuffed beyond belief, and he smelled as if he hadn't showered in over a week. His credentials were good so we had the interview.  He was making $250K a year - I verified it! 

I once had a candidate show up wearing a tie with a wolf howling at the moon, coupled with a Bluetooth which he never took out as well as sunglasses which he wore indoors. Needless to say he didn't get the job.

It wasn't what they showed up at the interview was what they WERE NOT wearing that was the issue.  I had a candidate show up for VP level position within Banking/Global Markets in Downtown Boston barefoot.  No socks.  He told the Hiring Manager he "lost them" on the way to the interview.  

I also had someone take their teeth(dentures) out of their mouth in the middle of the interview...

That is why I love recruiting!!

My candidate showed up for her interview in a maternity dress which may qualify as not the best way to present yourself to a hiring manager looking to fill a job ASAP.

The hiring manager was taken aback...called me and asked if I knew her condition. I asked, "What condition?" He said, "I'm guessing she's about seven months pregnant." I paused, "Wow. It never came up and it's certainly a question I could not and would not ask."

He laughed and said, "She's great. She apologized for her condition and explained why she did not tell you. I like her and extended her an offer and she's accepted. I will authorize maternity leave and need you to put that statement in the offer letter. Thanks, she'll be a great addition to the team."


His lunch. He barfed all over himself and the HR lady. Then he collapsed on the floor and was carried away by an ambulance. To their credit, the company hired him a couple of weeks later (over the strong objections of an HR lady. He stayed with them for fifteen years and then retired.

I had a candidate once that showed up for an executive interview in a stained grey tee shirt, scruffy beard and knee knocker tan  shorts.  The kicker was his florescent yellow flipflops.   When I asked him why later he told me that he wanted to stand out from everyone else. The funniest thing was that he nailed the interview. My client loved him.  The Hiring Manager thought he would be a lot of fun at the office and would bring new life to a "stale" environment. Personally,  I could have killed him. LOL 

The candidate arrived in a full 3 piece suit wearing runners and carrying a skateboard......he could have at least left the board outside.....just sayin'

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