Proper Interview Attire: Are Jeans Acceptable?
By Alan Marnett on July 23rd, 2012
Last week, FlyGirl made the case for how to dress for an interview using two fashion icons, Magnum PI and Don Draper, to illustrate the point. The take home message is that – yes, even in academia – selecting proper interview attire is important. Whether we like it or not, our outfit is busy communicating with our potential employer long before we open our mouth – so let’s make sure it’s not sabotaging our interview.
Of course, figuring out where exactly to draw the line when defining proper interview attire gets a bit trickier. Although you will see a range of outfits in laboratories on any given day, it’s safe to assume that in the US, jeans are a common choice for most scientists. On Friday Jorge asked FlyGirl whether it’s acceptable to wear jeans on his interview for a postdoctoral position and we tossed the question out on Twitter. Given the strong opinions on both sides of the discussion, we want to see if there is a consensus among scientists.
When answering this question, keep in mind that this is not a discussion about whether or not your fashion choices should affect an interview–that’s a separate topic–it’s about whether they do. The goal here is to provide graduate students with information that will help them succeed in upcoming interviews. The recommendation may sound like “We realize you may not agree, and this information may change in the future, but for now the consensus is that it [is/isn't] acceptable to wear jeans to your postdoctoral interview.”
So in the interest of helping a scientist out, what do you think – is it acceptable to wear jeans to an interview?