It wasn’t that long ago that “formal” was the dress code for all office workers and we all used to wear suits & ties or skirts, blouses and jackets for the ladies. However, over the last 15 years this has gradually morphed into business casual as the norm, with smart casual and a whatever goes approach on the increase.
As recruiters this has become an increasingly important criteria to consider and confirm when qualifying roles & candidates and advising on dress code for the all-important interview. Historically we’d simply advise to dress to impress and consider you’ll be looked on with client’s eyes as you’ll only get one chance to make a first impression, but now that can go the other way. If someone turns up looking like a “stuffed shirt” in a suit to a company where the norm is hipster beards and flip-flops you might not get the job as you’ll be considered too stuffy for the team dynamic!
Particularly in IT where companies want to be seen as agile and down to earth, where morning scrums occur to kick the day off, the suit and formal dress has fast become antiquated and a thing of the past. But where does this stop? What about, tattoos, piercings, hair style/colour and on-show flesh?.. We all remember non-uniform day at school where the cool kids turned up like a fashion show and the nerds still wore their uniform, but it has become a can of worms for employers and employees alike to get the balance right.
I can recall many a grievance and disciplinary that occurred through inconsistent enforcement of a dress code. It’s not fair for Bill on Service Desk to be allowed to come in looking like a pirate when Alice in Sales gets sent home as her new green hair colour isn’t felt to represent the company image! It’s important that Managers set the tone and communicate with each other and their staff to ensure consistency. The difference can often be that those who don’t generally meet customers can dress further down than those that do, but this can often cause resentment.
If you’re not sure what to wear for an interview or when starting at a new company we’d still advise airing on the side of caution and of course ask the company, your manger or your recruitment consultant – better safe than sorry! If you’re not sure if those ass-less chaps or open toed sandals are befitting company attire, well firstly have a word with yourself tbh! But if you’re not sure if a clothing item is office appropriate this is normally your gut telling you its not right, so check first. And obviously anything that can easily be taken as offensive is a definite no-no!
As recruiters at som3, we are chameleons and constantly adapt to our setting whether it be in the office, visiting client’s offices or entertaining clients and candidates. You’ll often find us in jeans by day and dressed down on Fridays ready for an early finish (if all targets are hit obvs!), but we’ll still have that killer suit at the back of the wardrobe ready for the client that still expects it or for a function that requires it
Our dress code just says no scruffy buggers! So if you’re not sure what to wear, ask your friendly som3 consultant and they will tell which dope threads are right for the occasion!!