Response to What to Wear for an IT Job Interview?. Is this just a huge bit stereotypical?
But if there’s one professional occasion when a tech worker should think fashion first, it’s the job interview. CIOs says so. According to research conducted by Robert Half Technology, more than one-third (35 percent) of CIOs surveyed say that IT professionals should sport a suit for a job interview.
I don’t see any harm in wearing a suit and tie or such business attire if you have no other information to go on for IT, or other employees. That advice to candidates is perfectly fine. Asking what is appropriate attire when the interview is set is also a good idea. In fact, that is all you need to take from this post as an interviewee, in my opinion.
Is there any value in you wearing a suit? If so, then not doing so might be a negative. The psychology of what makes people uncomfortable is tricky. And dress is one of those factors that may seem trivial but to differing extents most people base opinions partial on dress (even if they claim they don’t). Some organization with casual dress codes may also look at being too dressed up as a bad sign (out of touch…). Basically they are experiencing the same discomfort with your dress even though most likely they would profess to find those making judgments based on dress to be superficial. The Manager FAQ does a good job of looking at the thought process behind some managers thinking on the topic.
Your manager is probably aware that, in the abstract, the way she dresses changes nothing. However, part of her job is to interact with other people, and there are rules of etiquette for these dealings. Your manager’s clothing, even when she’s not dealing with other people, is selected in part as a way of telling you that she takes you seriously; it’s just like calling people “sir”. It’s a convention, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a real convention, and your manager is honoring it.
Even if there is no value to doing so there are many people who make judgments on silly factors like clothing.
Now for the most important point for manager’s, from this post, if you evaluate software developers on how they dress please quit and go work in some other line of work. You really don’t have what is needed to manage software developers or system administrators. If you are hiring someone to sit in meetings with MBAs and translate technology to them, then maybe being comfortable in a suit is a valued trait. But if you are hiring someone to create code 90+% of the time the suit is a completely silly measurement of value.
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When looking for a job you might decide you don’t want to work at a place that would make decisions on factors that don’t matter (if they are hiring based on non-sensible factors they definitely will be using that same management style in many other areas) so then not wearing a suit would be fine. If you are still looking for a job 6 months later your standards might change 🙂
More from the article, What to Wear for an IT Job Interview?:
Accellent CIO William Howell: “I think the individual organizing the interview owes the candidate the courtesy of telling them what dress code is expected—unless he is using that as part of his evaluation of the candidate. I’ve interviewed for jobs in informal companies and have felt very out of place when I arrived in a suit and tie. In today’s world, proper business attire is so confusing that I don’t think anyone should use it to evaluate candidates. They should instead give candidates a heads up of what is expected.”
Joel Spolsky’s latest post has some related points, Another resume tip
But for startups, everything about your resume has to scream getting your own hands dirty. Otherwise your resume makes you look like you’re looking for the kind of job where you can call meetings that take people away from coding all day long, which, to a startup, is about as useful as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.