CIOs Say Dress to Impress

Menlo Park, Calif. — Feb. 25

Chief information officers want to hire IT professionals who are “well-suited” for the job — both literally and figuratively. According to a new Robert Half Technology survey, nearly half (46 percent) of CIOs said a business suit is the most appropriate attire for someone interviewing for an IT position, while 34 percent of respondents favored khakis and a collared shirt.

Geography can influence interview attire expectations, the survey revealed. Philadelphia and Denver were among the cities with the most traditional tastes, with 58 percent and 51 percent, respectively, citing business suits as the outfit of choice for IT job candidates. CIOs in Raleigh, N.C., and San Francisco were less formal in their expectations, with only 36 percent and 37 percent, respectively, preferring formal interview attire.

The national survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey is based on more than 2,300 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies in 23 major metro areas with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “Which of the following, in your opinion, is the most appropriate interview attire for someone interviewing for an IT job with your company?” Their responses:

  • Formal business suit — 46 percent.
  • Khakis and a collared shirt — 34 percent.
  • Tailored separates (for example, a skirt and blouse) — 14 percent.
  • Jeans and a polo shirt — 4 percent.
  • Something else/don’t know — 2 percent.

“Even in casual IT departments, hiring managers want to know that a job candidate has made an effort to look polished and professional,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “When in doubt, it’s better to err on the conservative side than risk appearing overly casual.”

Reed added that networking before the interview can help job candidates get a sense of how to dress when meeting with a hiring manager. “Candidates should consult an insider at the firm, a recruiter or an HR representative for information about the corporate culture and how people tend to dress.”

Robert Half Technology offers these additional interview attire tips:

  • Choose something comfortable. You want to look as relaxed as possible, so avoid uncomfortable clothing. If you purchase new interview attire, wear it a few times to break it in before your meeting.
  • Pay attention to details. Don’t overlook the less obvious aspects of your appearance, like your shoes, socks and accessories. Make sure your outfit is free of wrinkles and stains, your hair and nails are well groomed, and your shoes are polished.
  • Don’t overdo it. Ultimately, you want your experience and skills to be the focus of the interview, not your outfit. Avoid any distracting clothing or jewelry, as well as excessive perfume, cologne or makeup.
  • Turn off electronic “accessories.” Make sure any mobile device you have with you is off before the meeting.
  • Dress the part for a video interview. Even if your interview is via webcam, you want to look the part. Make sure you dress appropriately from head to toe and the background is free of distractions.


Source: Robert Half Technology

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