I recently asked this question to a group of prospective job applicants, and I was astonished to hear some of their answers.
Many of them said it was perfectly fine to wear blue jeans or wrinkled clothes with their pants falling down. Some even thought it was acceptable to show up wearing a sweat suit and sneakers!
Just so you know, that’s not acceptable. Don’t do it!
I know we live in a “new age,” and employers tend to tolerate a more relaxed dress code for the work environment. In our dynamic and contemporary society you have the right to express yourself in any way you please. However, when it comes to dressing appropriately for a job interview, what you wear makes a difference.
Most of my work experiences have been spent in conservative business climates where appearances REALLY make a difference. In other environments it isn’t so important. Regardless, it makes sense to dress your best for an interview no matter what the dress code is for the organization.
Another aspect of “dress” has to do with tattoos and piercings. It’s becoming increasingly common for individuals to have tattoos and/or piercings. Thirty years ago, only one in one hundred Americans had a tattoo, but today it’s more like one in ten.1
Though tattoos and piercings are becoming more common, many companies in corporate America feel that they are offensive, vulgar or contrary to the corporate image and standards established. This is backed up by the Salary.com survey where 76% of people surveyed believed that these “expressions” could have a negative impact during an interview.
The following are my suggestions and advice to individuals seeking employment:
• Stick to business professional looks (both men and women).
• Read and follow the advice found in the section on “Dressing Successfully for Job Interviews” in John T. Molloy’s New Dress for Success book.
• Don’t get tattoos and body piercings in places where they can’t be covered with clothing or makeup.
• Cover them up before you show up for an interview or work.
• Learn and follow the company’s dress code and personal appearance policy.
• Reserve visible tattoos and piercings for after hours, non-work related functions.
It is important to make a good first impression by dressing appropriately for your job interview. This is an opportunity to show that you’re serious about the job, that you’re eager to make a good impression, and that you are the right person for the job.
Remember, before you show off your tattoos or piercings, right or wrong, individuals with visible tattoos and body piercings are often stereotyped. Work ethic, character, intelligence, judgment and even personal hygiene may come into question.
Did you know that Workforce Solutions works with various organizations that can help you acquire clothing for an interview, including shoes? We can also give you some very good tips on how to look your best without necessarily spending a lot of money.
Once you have a scheduled interview, please speak with a member of the Workforce Solution staff, and he or she will steer you in the right direction. Remember, be wise and don’t miss out on your next interview because you do not have the right interview attire.
We are just a career center away.
1Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace. Erika Icon. Retrieved from http://www.workingworld.com/articles/tattoos-and-piercings-in-the-workplace
Carolyn Kennard is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She conducts job search skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region. Before embarking on a career in workforce development, Carolyn achieved success in marketing and training with a major oil company. Carolyn holds a B.A. degree from Virginia State University and an M.A. degree from Prairie View A&M University.