Professional Decorum

I realize that it has been a long time since I have had to pound the pavement searching for employment and that things have changed since I last looked over a decade ago.  As a result, the last three months have consisted of LOTS of time on the computer, LOTS of time driving to interviews (averaging 2-3/week since mid-July), and constant concern over what to wear to each interview in order to set the proper impression.

I realized today that I probably make a much bigger deal than needed over that last concern.

This morning, I went for an interview–my third one this week, so I’m right on schedule.  Like many companies do, the HR director set aside an entire day for interviews with the appointments staggered throughout the day.  For this particular company, there were actually two HR personnel taking appointments.  I had been instructed to come with a hard copy of my resume, a list of references, and to dress in professional attire.  Now, I don’t know if it was just my HR director that issued that edict, but if what I saw in the waiting room is any indication the definition of professional attire has changed drastically since I last looked for a job.

I was one of six women to pass through the reception area.  (Keep in mind that it was 60 degrees outside and rainy.)  When I first entered the Suite there were only two women waiting–a girl in jeans and a sweater who kept talking on her cell phone and a blond girl that was wearing black pants, a printed black sweater jacket, and a belly skimming sweater top.  Turns out that the jeans girl was simply waiting to give a ride to a very nattily dressed gentleman that was in an interview room, so that made sense as she was not there in a professional capacity.  Next, a very nicely dressed African American lady wearing black pants and a printed blouse entered.  She looked very put together, but when she sat down next to me it was all I could do to keep from moving as she had on so much perfume I was seeing stars.  Then came in two young girls at the same time.  One was very petite, hair in a ponytail, black skinny jeans, and a ribbed white top carrying a cell phone and keys.  Not really my idea of professional attire, but it was the other girl that changed my outlook on how to dress for an interview. Continue reading