I laugh continuously at the tenuous debate over what to where and when reference work.  Is this the red carpet, are we attending a formal reception, do we need to know the dress according to what time of the day the marriage ceremony is?  It is simply another issue to add to the useless list (that is becoming exceedingly long) that are thrown on to the shoulders of workers across the country by mindless drones in corporate America that think up what is the formal dress code for their company.  Are you serious - is there one anymore?  How do you define formal - black tie, suit, or jeans and a blazer?  All three to some are formal, so what is reason behind having all of this debate.  I even read on one of the largest job sites a recent post about the subject, can it be that difficult to understand?  What to wear and when?


Let us start with dress for interview - simple, easy, straight forward.  Dress to impress always.  No matter the environment unless specifically told you place on a suit for men, women have more liberty but remain conservative and professional.  This is the simple answer, not the only answer.  Some environments such as start ups or certain manufacturing or process driven companies do not want to see suits, you can look too stuffy or not able to roll your sleeves up and do the work.  Start ups are abandoning the entire professional culture so a suit is a slap in the face.  If you are uncertain - call HR or if you are using a recruiter, talk to them about the culture and what is appropriate.  9 times out of 10 it will be a suit.


Now dress for work, sometimes not as easy but should not take a whole lot of time to digest and understand.  Business casual - vague and ambiguous term that means nothing offers no truth into what management really wants.  It was a conceived branding line by HR to have their companies’ look and feel more approachable and laid back so candidates wanted to come work there.  Easiest way to handle this - come to work dressed like you did for the interview day 1.  Once you are there, look around - I guarantee you will see a great disparity in what people are wearing depending on their role and success at the company.  Look for people in similar roles, people that are doing well with the company, and most importantly what your boss is wearing.  From there you should be able to figure it out.


Read more content at workfanatic

Views: 82

Comment by Amber on January 19, 2011 at 12:34pm
It is very surprising how often I had to address this with employees when I was a manager at a large corporation. I also had candidates come in for interviews dressed inappropriately, but never once did I see somone and think "gee, they're really overdressed." If their appearance was unsuitable, it really put a negative light on the interview at that point. It's tough because, as you noted, it's subjective. Especially when you leave any room for interpretation. So I think it's still pointed out in articles and by recruiters when prepping candidates because some people can't be left to their own devices! If everyone showed up for the interview dressed appropriately, I'm sure it would not be a topic any longer.
Comment by Jason Monastra on January 19, 2011 at 12:49pm
Amber, I would compeletely agree.  But the whole idea that people do not understand the common standards for dress when coming to an interview completely amazes me.  If a recent college grad, etc - possibly.  But I find myself consistently seeing professionals with 10 years experience and more doing the exact same things.  I think if people would place themselves across on the other side of the desk, they would dress more appropriately.
Comment by Amber on January 19, 2011 at 1:11pm

Yep, I agree completely. But I do include the how to dress part in my candidate prep, for everyone because I don't meet most in person so I don't know what their appearance is like at all. And like you said, you can't assume common sense would prevail.

Funny side story - a friend of mine got a call from a client after an in-person interview for a top level engineer. The candidate did wear a suit, and even dressed it up with a string of pearls - which probably would have went over better if it had been a female!

Comment by Jason Monastra on January 19, 2011 at 1:14pm
HAHA....now that is funny!.  Can you shar some more information on that story - I will include that in the section of my blog WorkFanatic where we have a section dedicated to funny stories about the workplace, interviews, office culture, etc.
Comment by Amber on January 19, 2011 at 1:47pm
I don't remember a lot more of the details - just can picture the client at the other end of the phone when the recruiter asked about the interview and when they were going to make the job offer as anticipated... I'll send you a message later about a candidate my husband had in his office for an aptitude assessment.
Comment by Jason Monastra on January 19, 2011 at 4:53pm
That would be great, as these are stories people love to read!


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