Meeting w/ IT recruiter -- dress code?
July 18, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I have an initial meeting with an IT recruiter today and was wondering what I could wear since it is hot...

Today I am going to meet a recruiter for half-hour at his office to go over my resume and narrow down what type of position I'm looking for, etc. What is the dress code for something like this? Can I get away with a black tshirt and shorts? Or is that too casual?

posted by tremolo1970 to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Too casual. This is still an interview--they won't submit your resume to anyone if they don't think you will properly represent them as a company. Recruiting companies can easily lose key accounts by sending them over bad resources for consideration.

Long story short: Whenever I meet with a recruiter, I suit up. Just like it's any other interview.
posted by fusinski at 8:59 AM on July 18, 2007

fusinski has it right on. You can survive a half-hour meeting in a suit even if it's hot. Consider the pay-off versus cost ratio.
posted by saeculorum at 9:04 AM on July 18, 2007

Nobody ever lost a job by wearing a suit.

If you really can't handle it, call the recruiter's receptionist and ask them what the company dress code is like.
posted by mrbugsentry at 9:44 AM on July 18, 2007

That is WAY too casual. I've gotten more opportunities and thanks for over-dressing than under dressing. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, even if the recruiter isn't the one hiring, they're the ones that talk to the people that hire.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:48 AM on July 18, 2007

I wore a short-sleeved dress shirt to a programmer interview last week. They took me out to lunch and asked for references a few days ago.

On the other hand, this was in academia, so full suit and tie is already a little overkill.

Get to know your potential employers and find out what they wear.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2007

Suit up. The office will be air conditioned.
posted by pdb at 10:04 AM on July 18, 2007

Unless it's academia or research, suit.

You might be abel to get away with a dress shirt and trousers, but only if "business casual" is definitely appropriate ... and personally, I'd rather wear the suit, because it's a lot more obvious if you're sweating when you're just in a shirt than in a suit. (Yeah, you may end up having to get the whole suit drycleaned, but that's better than looking disgusting.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:05 AM on July 18, 2007

for recruiter appointments, i usually ask if business casual is ok. sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. since you didn't ask, i'd trot out a suit.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 10:08 AM on July 18, 2007

Suit up. The wirst they will do is tell you to take your jacket off.

I've been in a position in which I have interviewed many people. Lack of suit is ALWAYS noticed... Shorts and T-shirt are a DEFINITE no. Dress pants and button up shirt is the BARE MINIMUM ACCEPTABLE.

And do not, under any circumstances, dress in all black, with a bolo tie, as you will lose the job on principle.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:23 AM on July 18, 2007

i've always went with jeans and a button up shirt and tie or a polo. but then again, my job interviews were always for design positions, so that might even be overdressing.
posted by sxtxixtxcxh at 10:42 AM on July 18, 2007

A suit is much too much for any IT job that doesn’t involve running an entire city’s Web site.
posted by joeclark at 11:16 AM on July 18, 2007

And as a counter anecdote, for development positions on the west coast and Hawaii, I've generated around 10 offers in two separate job search rounds showing up to interviews (recruiters or principals) in a t-shirt and jeans. From that little data point, I surmise it's not an unheard-of and leper-creating choice. Be conscious that this is going to result in you being filtered by some hiring managers, and then be glad that wherever you end up chose your co-workers by some more concrete, related to making computers do tricks sort of criteria.

In my 10+ years in software development, I've not noticed any correlation between my coworkers' productivity and the formality of their dress. As a result, it's just not a signifier to me. Clearly it is to others. That said, wearing a suit will get you past my filter and XYZ's filter, so it's a safer choice if your goal is to get the job. Of course, pre-interview, you don't even know if you want the job yet.

Good luck on your interview.
posted by minedev at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2007

The expected dress code for this sort of thing varies wildy from place to place.

I work in software on the West Coast, and have met with recruiters over the past few months. I wore khakis and a polo shirt (business casual) to all of the interviews and face to face meetings.

Only one recruiter out of five asked me to wear anything more than that to an interview for a prospective position. It turns out that he had recently relocated from the East Coast, where he'd been doing IT recruiting for 10-15 years. The others were all used to Southern California and had no issue with business casual.

The way I look at it is that as an interview really is a more formal setting than the usual workplace, dressing a step or two above what you'd expect to be working in is appropriate. By not wearing a suit, I was kind of sending a message to the recruiter that dressing up is not something I would consider an acceptable condition of employment, as well.

I wound up accepting a position from the recruiter who asked me to wear a suit. The manager I interviewed with was wearing cargo pants with paint on them and an old faded Buffy t-shirt - had I worn a suit, I don't know that I would have gotten the job. Obviously, if this doesn't sound like the type of company you're interviewing with, YMMV.
posted by DoomGerbil at 2:22 PM on July 18, 2007

I always ask, and then kick it up a notch. That way you look smart but not over the top compared to your potential co-workers, and you should get some brownie points for being engaged and interested enough to find out what's appropriate.

Re what minedev and doomgerbil said, yes, it depends who does the interview and who has the greatest decision making power, and you have to think about whether you want to work somewhere that sets store by your dress sense. But it never hurts to look as though you would fit in.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:38 PM on July 18, 2007

It's funny how answers to this question evolve over the life of AskMe.. Here is one of the previous questions: What to wear to a job interview?

However, this isn't actually a job interview, so.. If you know nothing, you need the tie, and the suite sure couldn't hurt. If you have a pretty good idea that it is a casual environment, you might take the tie off, but pants and a button up shirt are absolutely a no brainer! Shorts? You were kidding, right?

One piece of advice I recall, dress consistent with the highest position you might wish to occupy at the company. If you have management ambitions, you wear a suite, if you are coming in to do a contract, business casual might be okay..
posted by Chuckles at 4:00 PM on July 18, 2007

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