In this generation of Millienials, fashion forward companies, and casual days extending far beyond Friday – I’ve found these past few years a surge toward a new interview attire spotted with individualism, artistic expression, and an emphasis on reflecting personal style. We’ve all had the candidate who showed up wearing something completely inappropriate – flips flops, Technicolor t-shirts, jeans, short skirts, torn pants, etc…. The list goes on and on.

However, the more I think about it, I can’t help but wonder. As Recruiters, how far should we be going to impress upon our candidates the importance of the first impression? Even after they have been told Business Attire (suit and tie), should we be delving deeper? Should our prep questions include extensive lists of “What not to wear?”

Here are a couple of my stories – Please share…..

Do you get HBO with those earrings?? – Candidate arrived at a very conservative client to interview and could not get through the metal detectors. In his ears were earrings that went through the earlobe and had been stretched to the width of a quarter. I begged him to remove the earrings; he refused and continued to refuse all the way to the client’s office. When I later told him that he did not get the job despite being their first choice because of his jewelry choice – the candidate said “Well I wish someone would have told me!!”

I didn’t catch that – Did you say you took cold medicine?? – Candidate arrived to interview for a position at the client company wearing a clip on pony-tail, short-skirt, and repeatedly fell asleep while interviewing because she had consumed cold medicine before walking into the building to avoid speaking with a stuffy nose during the interview. She also asked the manager for a “do over” when she sensed things going badly.

Hats need not apply!
Captain Jack Sparrow – the candidate wore a pirate hat – and despite my urging refused to remove it prior to the interview. I will never forget saying to him “But you really should remove the pirate hat….” And thinking to myself – this cannot end well.

Moral of the story:
To the candidates out there looking for a new job – please leave wild jewelry, mind-altering pharmaceuticals, and head accessories at home. Leave those for the company holiday party.

For my fellow Recruiters – sometimes no matter how much we fear upsetting a candidate, we have to get them to take off the pirate hat…….Even if it’s their lucky pirate hat.

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Comment by Kara D. on August 20, 2008 at 10:40am
When I was speaking about compensation with a candidate, I was told that this company would "have to keep her daughter in ponies" - they raise ponies and she made sure that she was in it for the money and not the position. I can't imagine asking her to market our programs.


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