Does Wearing a Suit for a Geek Job Interview Kill Your Chances?

The recruiters all say that you should err on the side of formality. Clearly the recruiters don't know the tech staff.

The company aims to hire a Linux admin. The word went around the office: The guy who's in for the interview is wearing a suit!" At least one of the programmers was heard to mumble, "No way we're hiring him!"

I never realized how big of a deal this is. There are some advantages to being a geek chick, I suppose. While we can (or at least I do) obsess about what to wear at a job interview, women have a lot more freedom in clothing categories. I've a few outfits that are undeniably professional without looking uncomfortably formal. (Also, I think more women are apt to ask about the company dress code.)

There are some companies — say, banks and financial organizations — where wearing a suit for the interview process seems appropriate even if everybody is aware you'll never wear a suit again. Even if the HR person tells you that the department is "business casual," you're often warned that it's a good idea to dress one step up from the people you interview with.

But still — a suit?

Maybe that does impress the people at the top of the food chain, even in a midsized business (one that's too small for a dedicated HR person but large enough for discernible departments). But if you're a techie and you interview someone wearing a suit... Does it make you think less of the person? (Surely, if he'd willingly wear a suit, he isn't a real techie.) Better? (He's serious about this job. He wants it.) Is it a no-op? (Who cares what he wears? It's just part of the job-hunting politics, especially if a recruiter sent him. Let me just ask about his Apache knowledge!)

Where do you stand? (And what are you wearing while you're standing there?)


Close

Add a little SmartBear to your life

Stay on top of your Software game with the latest developer tips, best practices and news, delivered straight to your inbox

By submitting this form, you agree to our
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Thanks for Subscribing

Keep an eye on your inbox for more great content.

Continue Reading