WORKPLACE fashion is not ‘one size fits all’ so jobseekers are urged to consider industry and company standards before picking an interview outfit.
A SEEK survey reveals the most common workplace dress code is the uniform (26 per cent), followed by smart casual (25 per cent), business casual (16 per cent), casual/informal (16 per cent), and formal business attire (11 per cent).
Kingfisher Recruitment consultant Lauren Jeffery says research and common sense is the key to determining what an employer considers appropriate for interview.
“Consider the business, the industry it is in, the requirements of the job, and use this picture to determine what will or won’t work,” she says.
“For example, if you are interviewing with a company that deals in corporate client services, then it’s a safe bet that corporate attire is the way to go.
“On the flip side, if it’s a project administrator role out on a construction site then smart casual is usually welcomed.
“If all else fails there is no harm in asking your recruiter or the HR manager you are dealing with.”
Jeffery recommends incorporating at least one element of formal business wear into the outfit, no matter the role. For example, jeans or chinos should be paired with a nice shirt.
At the very least, jobseekers should keep their hair off their faces, avoid stained or ripped clothing, keep make-up and facial hair minimal, take out any nose or eyebrow piercings, and cover any tattoos.
“This will go a long way in not creating too many distractions in the room and allowing your voice to be heard,” she says.
Total Image Group chief executive Pamela Jabbour says well-dressed employees can make all the difference when it comes to a company’s brand.
Her company designs, manufactures and supplies uniforms for companies such as Woolworths and Ford and will soon unveil the Australian uniforms for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Jabbour says corporate uniforms often are better than setting a dress code and leaving it up to interpretation as “common sense is not always common”.
“From a company perspective, it’s a first impression and that’s really important,” she says.
“A uniform sets the tone. It creates unity and reminds people what their brand is about. It sends a strong image for anyone looking into the business about what it represents.”
The SEEK survey reveals two in five people believe some people in their workplace do not dress appropriately, looking either too provocative or too daggy.
One in three workers feel judged based on what they wear to work and the same again agree their attire affects their motivation and performance.
Young people, aged 18 to 34, are most affected by dress codes.
More than a quarter (29 per cent) feel pressured to keep up with the latest fashion trends compared to just 19 per cent of all people surveyed. Meanwhile, 57 per cent consider a company’s dress code when deciding whether they want to work there compared with 39 per cent of the overall sample group.
DRESS CODES DE-CODED
This is mostly worn in trades and services, retail, hospitality, healthcare and sales. Workers with this dress code are most likely to be perceived as being part of a team but are also seen as uncreative.
This is typified by a sports jacket with chinos or nice jeans for men; and nice slacks, a skirt or dark jeans with a collared or dressy top for women. Workers in this dress code are seen as the most motivated and productive. They also seem collaborative and creative.
A typical outfit is pressed khakis or chinos with a polo or collared shirt for men; and dress pants with a fashionable top for women. Workers in this dress code are perceived as collaborative.
Typically comprising a T-shirt and jeans, this dress code should not be interpreted as yoga pants, gym shorts and singlets. Workers in casual/informal attire are generally seen as creative but unproductive and unmotivated.
This dress code requires a suit and tie for men; and suit or business-style dress for women. Of workers with this dress code, 20 per cent would prefer to dress smart casual. Although workers in formal business attire likely put the most effort into their appearance, it is not paying off. They are perceived as unmotivated, unproductive and uncreative.