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> FWIW, a job placement counselor explained it this way:
> 1) Your job at an interview is to sell your skills and qualifications
> to the interviewer.
> 2) People hire people they like, qualifications being equal (and
> sometimes even if they are not).
> 3) You do not want anything about your appearance to distract from your
> skills and qualifications, or worse, to hit someone's personal negative hot
> 4) Ergo, you wear The Uniform, including not only The Suit but also a
> conservative hair style, jewelry, etc.
And even more to the point, since you're going to be interacting with other
people at the client's site, or representing the client when you deal with
customers, the interviewer wants to know that you know how to dress "safely"
when dealing with others whose temperaments are unknown until you get there.
When I interview people, I explain how much of their work will be with
programmers and engineers, but that some may be with users - you know, those
strange folks who actually have to understand and become effective with the
toys that the programmers are designing and we are attempting to document. In
that capacity, then, the potential candidate has to show that he or she knows
how to assess a situation before actually seeing it, and how to represent the
company - and dressing conservatively is one way of demonstrating it.
I certainly don't mind people coming to work in jeans or shorts and T shirts,
provided they're clean. In fact, when I'm not scheduled for meetings or any
kind of outside interaction, that's what I wear too. But there are times
when appropriate dress conveys a sense of respect for the person and the
situation, and erring on the cautious side is better than being irritating.
What constitutes "respectful" attire varies, however, from area to area. Here
in Silicon Valley, a navy suit is overkill for my kind of work. It's probably
totally appropriate for other jobs and other environments.