It’s said that an impression is made within the first few seconds of meeting someone. That’s certainly true in recruiting—within seconds I know if someone is a ‘no go’ or if they are a ‘maybe.’ ‘Maybes’ get a chance to prove themselves.
Appearance really involves the whole package from the technology you carry (or don’t) to clothes to personal grooming to accessories.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently whose daughter is studying business in college. She goes to class in what the professor defined as ‘business causal.’ Got me thinking—just what is ‘business casual?’ It’s not nearly as clear cut as the days of Dress For Success, right out of the 1984 Apple ad of lemmings. Today, there’s a ton of appropriate choices for most business environments. And navigating what’s appropriate is getting super tricky.
The Wall Street Journal is doing a great series on what employees are wearing in different industries. The creative realm of publishing and advertising is really different than technology, but of course all tech companies are not the same. Banking is morphing at a rapid pace, but Wall Street much less so. What you wear in court and what you wear as an IP attorney bear no resemblance to each other.
Does it matter what you wear? You bet it does. Companies want to see you in the role—that’s why presentations are increasingly common, why candidates are often asked to do a homework assignment prior to landing a job, and why the key question isn’t what you’ve done but what will you do for us?
What you decide to wear to an interview (or coffee, an ‘informal meeting’, drinks—they are all interviews) is critical. Probably the single most important ‘take away’ for me is what you thought was appropriate. When in doubt, ask or do a stake out—drive by the company offices on your way to work, during lunch or after work and observe what people are wearing.
Interview Fashion Crisis #1: The Suit.
Hmmm. What used to be a safe choice can now make you look like a dork. Sure, there are plenty of circumstances when a classic suit will work for an interview. However, for highly creative, lifestyle or consumer brands or fashion, you need to do some serious research on what’s appropriate.
Once you are sure a suit is the right choice, make sure it’s the right fit.
Hint: it shouldn’t take more than one person to button the jacket.
Stay tuned for more!