In the article reached by clicking on this post’s title, WomenCo lists clothing and accessories that do not belong in the office or at the workplace.
Certain exceptions are listed – all of which make the point that most people need to treat the workplace with respect. Kim Kardashian can get away with wearing tons of jewelry because she is an out-there public figure who craves attention, and gets it via her wardrobe, figure, and social activities. Most of us regular gals don’t necessarily want to get the kind of attention she gets – well, at least not at work. That kind of attention can be termed “sexual harassment.”
What goes for the workplace in general goes double for job interviews. It’s best to aim for a stylish, comfortable and professional look when going on an interview. For women: real shoes, a skirt or pants suit, low-key colors, a couple of pieces of jewelry, some makeup, well-groomed hair. For men: a suit and tie, real shoes, well-groomed hair.
Our appearance is the first thing people judge us by. It also is completely under our control. Sure, I didn’t order my face or body type or shoe size. However, I can work with what I have to look my best.
Perhaps you don’t think it’s fair that you have to dress up so much for a job interview. Maybe you believe the employer should just accept you as you are, and show that they really value diversity. The reality is that we ARE judged by our appearance. Rather than denying and fighting that fact, work with it.
A job training program called STRIVE addresses the appearance issue head-on. Founded in Harlem in the 1980’s, STRIVE provides real-world preparation for people who are unemployed or unsuccessful job seekers. Its brand of tough love says “you may not like how it is, but you need to accept how it is.”
I witnessed a young woman being confronted about her dreadlocks. She was angry that employers seemed to dismiss her as a candidate after seeing her in person, and she blamed them for not liking her dreadlocks. The STRIVE counselor said “then cut them off, if you want a job.” Of course, the woman hated that advice. Eventually, though, she and the rest of the class heard the point the counselor was making: if you identify a potential obstacle to your getting a job, remove the obstacle.
Understand the consequences of your decisions. It’s as simple as that. We’re not saying you shouldn’t have the hair you want. We’re just saying that if you have the hair you want, you may not get the job you want. And we’re not saying you can’t wear short-shorts or sequins or velour track suits on your days off. They’re just not appropriate for the workplace. Now since that time, there is more acceptance of some unconventional hairstyles. Yet if someone has dreadlocks or multi-colored hair, there are some jobs that just may not be open to them.
By dressing appropriately for a job interview, you maintain a level playing field with other applicants. Dressing inappropriately may cause you to be dismissed from contention immediately, or at best disadvantage you vis a vis the other candidates.
Once you get the job, you can see how people dress and adapt to the culture in the workplace. Just do all you can to make sure you get the job. Or understand and accept responsibility for your choices – choices that may cause an employer to take a pass on you.