Beards and Bare Legs

The days of conservative navy interview suits with a clean shave or slicked back ponytail and pearls are slowly becoming obsolete outside of Wall Street. In a world where a beard and a very hip shirt and no tie is the dressed-up norm for men or a big statement necklace and no stockings or slacks with a blouse is the norm for women, there are few articles suggesting that hiring managers think about evolving and accepting a more casual candidate dress code.

As a recruiting leader in a fast-growing company with a technical product and a modern culture, we hire based on cultural fit, ability to perform a certain role, and general intelligence, and we can safely say that if you walk around our offices, diverse appearances and comfortable attire are acceptable and noticeable at all levels.

So as a result, in recent years, I have noticed that although managers mention being more impressed by a well-dressed interview candidate, they’re fortunately not eliminating candidates just because they didn’t dress the conservative part that is typically expected in an interview. To do so would have eliminated some truly spectacular minds.

Article Continues Below

The U.S. talent pool’s largest group, the millennials (whom we define as between 18-34 years of age) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected numbers of boomers (ages 51 to 69) or even Gen X (35-50).  Being a more casually dressed demographic and one that has grown up seeing digital content of a much more relaxed corporate culture, it is safe to assume they could get confused when dressing for an interview.

If your company has branded your casual dress code through your website, it’s only fair to expect candidates to dress more casual for an interview. As recruiting experts, we will need to start to educate hiring managers in the U.S. workforce today to think outside of the old-school box when making hiring decisions that are based on a candidate’s decision to adapt to the ever-changing more casual and comfortable workforce.

Suzanne Helmold leads a team of recruiting professionals at Billtrust, a premier provider of payment cycle management solutions.

Topics