Part 3: What NOT to Wear to a Job Interview & Are You Suited for the Job?

Do you dress to impress? When you know you are going to be meeting with recruiters, this is a must! You don’t necessarily have to dress to the nines but your appearance goes a long way, and before you decide on your outfit, you should know what NOT to wear to a job interview. Here are two important words to keep in mind the next time you dress for an interview: First. Impression.

In addition, have you ever applied to a job that you are not quite suited for? You may be fashion savvy but are you REALLY qualified for the job? Here are a few stories from our recruiters about how they handled being faced with candidates who were not suited for the position.

Has a job candidate ever arrived at an interview dressed inappropriately or unkempt? If so, describe their attire and/or appearance.

  • In the past 10 years, I have definitely had a couple of candidates show up to an interview underdressed (for the occasion) or inappropriately dressed. One candidate showed up to an interview that included not only the hiring manager, but the Director and CTO, wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a Hawaiian shirt.  This is a perfect example of what NOT to wear to a job interview.
  • I had a candidate show up to an interview in a pink jumpsuit. The hiring manager emailed me as soon as he arrived and continued to interview him. Afterward, the manager said that he may have been good, but they were so distracted by the pink jumpsuit they could not focus on the interview. The motto is: first impressions, not distractions!
  • I had a candidate arrive at an interview wearing in a BEER T-shirt.
  • I had a candidate that I previously phone screened and when she showed up for the face-to-face interview she was wearing a lovely khaki dress. In addition, she was sporting a bright green blazer. Her fingernails even matched her blazer.
  • A candidate arrived in shorts, a T-shirt, and dirty shoes – for a 100K pay/year position.
  • One candidate showed up in jeans, a wrinkled shirt, and unkempt hair. Even my clients who have “casual” work environments appreciate people showing that they take a little interest in their appearance.

Have you ever had to end an interview early because the candidate was not qualified or suitable for the position and if so, how did you handle the situation?

  • Yes. In those situations, we kindly let them know that the manager is looking for a slightly different skill set. We will keep their resume on file and let them know if more suitable positions open up.
  • It depends on the situation but most of the time, I tell them that they aren’t a good fit for this particular role but that I will keep them in mind for future opportunities that better match their expertise.
  • For sure. I just explain a skill that is required that they do not have and tell them that I will keep them in mind for other positions that open up.
  • If I can see that the candidate is not suited for the job, I wrap up the conversation and let them know that I will send them any jobs that come across my desk that would be a good fit for them.

Note to Self: Oftentimes, when interviews do not go well, candidates get walked out and are told the next interviewer is stuck in a meeting.

For further information on job interview tips and how to avoid classic mistakes, be sure to also visit these pages below to knock the socks off of your next interviewer.

Seven Unexpected Job Interview Mistakes
Common Mistakes Applicants Make When Writing Resumes for IT Companies
Tips for a Successful Skype Interview
Job Interview Tips: Face to Face and Over-the-Phone
Five Tips for Effective Job Interview Body Language