Dress for the Interview

Job interviews are something with which Melissa and I have had considerable experience over the last 30 years. We’ve revised our procedures over time, but we have always utilized an in-person interview as a final part of the process. Regardless of the position for which we are interviewing, we, as a professional practice serving a discriminating client base, have certain expectations. First and foremost, applicants should dress for the job they are seeking. In a professional environment, this means suits/jackets, ties, nice pants and shoes, etc. We’ve had some surprises over the years in which the first impressions were all we needed to know that the individual in question was not situationally aware enough to be hired, or worse, to work with the types of clients we have as trial consultants. There was the young woman, recently graduated with a master’s degree, who flew into town, at our expense, who showed up without her suit jacket “because it was too hot.” We’re in Florida, she was from Texas; heat is normal. Perhaps if she had not made it a point to tell us that she did not wear a jacket because of the heat, we would have thought she intended the no jacket look (though her outfit really called for the jacket). Then there was the guy who was so disheveled that he arrived with his dress shirt ½ way untucked and never realized it. The pièce de ré·sis·tance was the recent applicant for research technician who showed up in a polo shirt and…shorts. He blew his chance at a job by dressing so casually, not even “business casual” – but shorts! Again, because it was hot. First impressions are critical. Having the right look is important. Dressing in the right “costume” for the job is something that should be easy to comprehend. It is hard to overdress for a professional interview. Failing to do so speaks volumes about the applicant’s potential.

I love people!  I really do!  I am constantly entertained and surprised by the things people do and say.  Never a dull moment, that’s for sure!  David’s post was prompted by our most recent job interview, which was of the shortest duration in the history of Magnus.  Why?  Because the job candidate, a young male, wore SHORTS to the interview!  SHORTS!  At first, I was too shocked to say anything, but upon gaining my composure, I said, “I see you are wearing shorts to a job interview.”  His stellar response was, “Yes, I’m wearing shorts because it’s hot outside.”  I agreed that, indeed, I had gone outside that day and it was hot.  I then told him I could not proceed with the interview because his appearance and comments had disturbed me.  I felt like Robert DeNiro’s character in “Taxi Driver,” because my preferred response to being chastised about the hot weather was “You talkin’ to me?” but I decided not to start laughing until David escorted him from the office.  Word to the wise: Never, ever, wear shorts to a job interview if you want a job.

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