Re: Question about dressing for job interviews

Subject: Re: Question about dressing for job interviews
From: "Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- sonic -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 17:07:28 -0800

This is what I get when I stay away for a coupel of weeks, then try to catch

Nearly everyone who replied seemd to say "wear a suit," at least for men.
Well, here's my take--and it's right off of what Jim said about fitting in.

Until last fall, when I went to my brother's wedding, I didn't even own a
suit. From early on, when I went to on-campus interview, I've never worn a
suit to an interview.

That said, I don't do the jeans thing either, even here in Silicon Valley
(with one exception). To interviews, I wear casual slacks and either a
banded button down shirt or a standard button down shirt wiht a tie. Neither
the shirts nor the ties would be considered "conservative;" they have
bright, bold colors (but not garish).

If I feel uncomfortable at the interview because I'm sensing that I'm
underdressed, then I know that I wouldn't fit in to that company's culture,
and I wouldn't be happy working there.

I have plenty of quality work in my portfolio, but if the people
interviewing me are more concerned about what I have in my closet (and it's
not me!), then again, I'm sure I wou;dn't fit in there because I wouldn't
believe that their priorities would be in the right place wnen it comes to
making development decisions on their products (not user-centered).

The exception was my current job, now here for a year. I had just finished a
short-term project in downtown SF and was walking to BART. I called my
broker who told me about this small company in Santa Clara needing help
documenting thier web application. Despite my misgiving about the commute
distance (which he knows I try to avoid), I called about the position, and
the manager wanted to see me right then. I told her that it would take me
awhile, and that I'd need extra time to get into "interview clothes." She
told me not to worry and just come on down as I was, my typical tshirt &
jeans. So I took BART home, threw some writing samples in my computer bag,
and drove down (a good hour-plus drive in rush hour) for a 6pm Friday
interview. 2 hours later I had the job.

It was what I can do, not what I can wear. It's one of the things I love
about both my chosen field and the place that I work in it.

"Jim Morgan" <Jim -dot- Morgan -at- portalplayer -dot- com> wrote in message
news:136177 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

As a former free-lancer and current manager, I have been in many
interviews on both sides of the table. I'm another believer you cannot
go wrong wearing a suit. Even if the company is casual, you cannot
predict what the interviewer will wear, and you do not want to be "less
dressed" than he or she is. Regardless, it shows that you take the job

If you find yourself overdressed, it's easy to handle possible concerns.
First, make a point of asking what the dress code is during the
interview. If they say "casual," say "thank goodness" and take off your
tie. You'll get a laugh--always good for a brownie point--and this trick
indicates that both your attitude and your dress can be casual. I always
figured if it didn't work, I probably wouldn't fit in with the company.

By the way, I used this bit while getting my current job with a Silicon
Valley company.

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