Should You Hire the Kid who Gave his Interview in Jeans?


If you’re a recruiter, you have most likely faced at least one candidate who has shown up in the interview wearing mismatched socks, floaters, or jeans. And as the general conduct of recruiters goes, the first thirty seconds are the most important. This is when you make your first few opinions about the candidate, and decide a general side to which you assume the interview is going to divert to.

And as goes the perfect dress code, when the candidate does end up in clothing that is inappropriate for the interview (conventionally), it is quite obvious that the recruiter begins to slowly incline towards the decision of wanting to reject the candidate.

However, the best solutions, or ideas, come from the most unconventional sources. This reason is more than convincing for you to stop, pick that resume back up and talk to the candidate as a potential employee. Forget those initial 30 seconds, his clumsiness, or his nervousness regarding the interview. He may be new, nervous, or unaffected by his appearance. For someone like that, priorities at that moment lie in making the right kind of impression on the recruiter through correct portrayal of knowledge, presence of mind, and skills. This is why if your candidate does turn out to be a new kid who couldn’t follow the norms of an interview, you should consider him for the following reasons:

  1.       He Obviously Cares About the Interview

Recruiters are known for judging a candidate inside out in a short span of time- this means that a candidate who hasn’t particularly put in substantial effort into looking effortlessly classy, or one who can’t carry off formal clothes, counts as a person who doesn’t care enough about the job or the decorum of the corporate world. This automatically cuts their chances by a heavy amount, and puts them in a negative light.

But consider this- if the candidate didn’t care about the interview, or the job, would he have followed up, or initiated at all to keep updated with all the steps? The interview is the third step that comes after primary screening and a minor phone interview. After the two steps are completed, he is shortlisted for the interview- this, in its own means that you are considering him as a probable employee, suitable for the role. If you were so convinced about the candidate prior to you seeing him, doesn’t that mean that he is, apart from his presentation, in every way, apt for the role?

  1.       He Prioritizes Things That Matter

People who are well versed with the expectations of an interview, sometimes, decide to choose jeans, or comfortable, colored socks over the same old, mundane suit-tie combination. Does this mean that they do not care about the interview?

They do. And sometimes, it can be quite distracting for a candidate who is not comfortable in western formals to sit through an interview with their tummy tucked in through that perfect ironed shirt. This same candidate would in fact, be more focused if he were wearing a t-shirt, instead of those torturous black pants and the plaid shirt that sucked the breath out of them. Of course, the candidate does need to look like he cares about his presentation skills, but when the recruiter calls a candidate for an interview, it is assumed that it is going to be a long, conversational session, where the two parties get to know each other and judge accordingly.

The candidates are required to be formal, yes, but judge their ability to be formal in the way that they talk, or conduct themselves in front of authority. As a recruiter, your job is to make the candidate feel comfortable, and welcome, despite all the in-depth personality analysis that happen inside your head at that moment. If in case, your candidate does openly say no to your pre-defined dress code, you can consider rejecting him. But if you find the senior manager in your company, who does a brilliant job at taking the company one step forward every day, walking around in ripped jeans, you cannot expect your potential candidate to be inadequate for the job just because he could not assume the general conduct of your company’s interview specific dress code.

  1.       Bit of a Rebel (YAS!)

Let’s just face it, there are close to a million articles on ‘how to act in an interview’, and if he wanted, he could’ve read a few and dressed well. But did he make the effort to do that?

If your interview is going just fine, and you find yourself wondering that very question, then obviously, the guy’s a rebel. Do you consider rejecting this ‘not-so-good’ boy?

33% percent of the recruiters would consider rejecting a candidate on the basis of their dressing style. But for how long would you want to go through the same lot of ‘the prim and perfect’?

The rebel who is apt for the job is not rude. The rebel, is actually, a good rebel. A maverick, that makes you scratch your head and reconsider your choices. He brings positivity to the company, and he’s the reason that the things that you feared trying out previously, don’t scare you as much. The rebel only needs to prioritize and segregate things according to what matters and what doesn’t, and he gets the ball moving. This is the different mentality, one that is programmed to think out of the box, that the company formally asks the applicants to sometimes be. To put it simply, it’s like asking the waiter to maybe try freezing the chocolate mousse that cost you INR 2000 a plate just because you needed ice-cream.

  1.       It’s His First Job (Come On!)

In the end, you need to cut the poor chap some slack. Just because he hasn’t previously worked in a formal environment, in the corporate world of black and white, does not mean that you reject him for his lack of knowledge of the basic dress code. You never know, he may have knowledge about things that you are trying to find the answers to. As a recruiter, one has to prioritize- do you value experience, or do you value presence of mind and its application during the experience?

OF course, it is considered basic manners to dress according to the interview. However, if the dress code is that imperative, i.e. capable of making or breaking the candidate’s chances, then specify it in an email, or wherever you mention the formalities that he has to comply with such as documents or such during the interview. Remember, many experienced, suited men, fail to see problems with a perspective that the new candidate inherently has. Even if they don’t have the same amount of experience that your other employees do, they can be quite capable of handling a situation with much more maturity, rationality, and with presence of mind. Always give the candidate the upper hand, for he will have plenty of companies that judge him negatively for his blue jeans. Not many will understand his true potential- but the ones that do, will have a different kind of insight into the ongoing generation that is, after all, the future, and the potential client, customer, and authority of your company.

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