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overdressed for success?

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overdressed for success?

Postby Mathew » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:28 am

I was recently interviewed for an academic position in a European Lab. At dinner, the previous night, the search committee head told me that it is a relaxed and informal meeting-I was dressed in my suit pants with a tie. At the interview, I was in my suit and tie while the other male candidates (yes, all candidates were invited to give talks on the same day) did not even bother to shave or get out of their tees. While I did not get the position, do looks matter? Did I come out a pompous ass?
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:13 am

I would love to hear our Euro advisers views on this. To me, my guess is that it was some other issue that was the problem. Perhaps someone else was just a better fit for the job? In most cases, you can overdress by one notch up and have no ill effects, only positives. Perhaps a turtleneck and a sport coat would have been better than the full suit and tie, but I still don't think you'd lose an opportunity over that . . .

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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Chris » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:19 am

Also, I'd note that it's very easy to step down a few notches in this situation. You're the only one at dinner in a tie and suit? Take off the coat and tie! Now you're just wearing nice slacks and a button-down shirt.

I agree with Dave that this is unlikely to be the problem.
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Mathew » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:39 am

Hi Dave and Chris

Thanks for the input. Chris, I did think of yanking off the tie, but I was afraid of doing it without grabbing everyone's attention and becoming the topic of discussion. Perhaps, I could have done it in a subtle manner. Also, I do agree that other factors were at play in job success but my impression is that the Europeans do not pay much attention to the attire!
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Ana » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:08 pm

Hi Mathiew,

I don't think overdressing could ever be a factor for deciding who to offer a position to. Underdressing could, as it gives the (perhaps wrong) impression that you are not too serious about the job.

About your last comment I feel I need to point out that "Europeans" are a bunch of different guys from different countries, languages and cultures. I work in industry and to give you an example in my department we wear jeans (we are in discovery), the in vivo people dress up a bit more and the translational guys look like business people (with exceptions). And this is within the same division of the same company in the same country. I would still expect people to dress up a bit for interviews, though.

In the academic labs that I've seen there is also a mix, with some PIs dressing business-like and some quite informal. Even in academia in most cases people "dressed for interviews", as you describe. Was it a faculty-type position or a postdoc one? I could see many postdocs no bothering to shave.

Now the strange part is what you say about inviting all candidates to give talks. That is something I had never seen!
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Mathew » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:19 pm

Ana
thanks. yes, it seems that recruitment was combined with an annual talk series. New concept to me? yes and it was a good venue to mingle and learn from other candidates.
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby AX » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:45 pm

Hi
I am from Europe and no we do not normally dress in suit and tie there. If you want to impress wear the latest street fashion. Armani Exchange or something like that. In Europe you want to look cool not polished. Go more rough as you go north more Italian (slim shirts) as you go south. Believe me it can take hours to get that "I just woke up and threw on some random clothes, because I'm that cool" look.. Do not mistake their sense of fashion. Good luck.
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Matt D. » Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:42 pm

Ana wrote: I work in industry and to give you an example in my department we wear jeans (we are in discovery), the in vivo people dress up a bit more and the translational guys look like business people (with exceptions). And this is within the same division of the same company in the same country.


A little off topic, but you just described the company I work for to a T.
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby PG » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:08 am

It depends a bit on the position that you are applying for but I would say that it is unlikely that anyone manages to dress in a way that it would rule you out as a candidate for a position. In short the higher up in the organization that you are applying for a position the hgiher requirement for a more strict dress code. Having said that I would probably go for an interview in a suit without tie (I am currently head of RnD at our site).

However this is very flexible and I wouldnt rule anyone out that comes in a tie even for a researcher position although we would try to get some more information about that persons personallity. For an entry level position underdressing is probably also rather hard to achieve.
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Re: overdressed for success?

Postby Mathew » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:04 am

Ana, sorry it was for an academic PI position.
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