Rejecting applicants based on choice of attire

axlryder

victim of VR
Jul 29, 2011
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So I was interviewing a few applicants at my workplace today, and I noticed that one of the women I was interviewing was wearing a low-cut shirt that showed off quite a bit of cleavage. This honestly left a pretty negative impression on me. Note that she did look fairly professional; it was just the low-cut top that stood out as being in poor taste to me. It wasn't too low, but low enough to be attention grabbing.

At first I felt like I was judging her on unimportant factors, or perhaps making assumptions about her personality based on what she was wearing. Then I thought that I just didn't see a reason for her to choose that kind of attire to wear for an interview. I thought, "I don't care who you are, wearing clothes that are intentionally revealing to an interview just doesn't come off as professional. If a guy was wearing a shirt/pants that showed off part of his buttcrack, then it would definitely factor into my decision to hire him." That said, low cut shirts are just more socially acceptable. She may just be following a natural pattern that has formed in society to the point where it would be unfair to judge her based on her conforming to a common template.

I dunno, I'm kind of torn on it. She interviewed well, but about as good as a few other candidates. What do you guys think?

For those curious, the position is low level retail management.
 

Phasmal

Sailor Jupiter Woman
Jun 10, 2011
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As long as she was dressed smartly I wouldn't really consider it a factor. As you said it wasn't too low? I'm not sure.
There are a lot of reasons why she might have chosen that particular shirt -as you said it's kind of socially engrained (society is all like `show us your tits!` and then `ugh what a slut` if you actually do- oh society, you so silly).
But I am gonna take this opportunity to complain about the poor state of women's clothing in general.
Trying to find a button up shirt whose buttons don't stop just above the cleave has been a freaking nightmare recently. And the ones that go all the way up are made out of such thin fabric it's see-through.
I guess just try and go on merit as much as possible.
Good luck, I'd hate to interview people. Sounds difficult.
 

Treeinthewoods

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May 14, 2010
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It's a perfectly valid reason to disqualify an applicant, I've done it several times. I work in a professional environment and if someone can't be bothered to meet those standards for an interview I have no need to hire them. You said yourself she's about on the level of some of your other applicants so picking someone else isn't an unreasonable choice.

I disqualified someone from a second round of interviews for having dirty fingernails to, my company communicates the dress standard for interviews very clearly before the interview.
 

omega 616

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May 1, 2009
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I've always heard during interview prep courses (on which I have been on about 10 of) that women shouldn't wear low cut tops (among things like too much perfume and jewelry).

However, being an objective person, I would pick the most qualified. If it comes to dead heat between this woman and another, then start using things like this to weigh her up.

I wouldn't really read it as a negative, it might have come from desperation to get a job (if a guy interviews me, maybe showing a little skin will leave my name in his mind) and trust me, if a person is desperate for a job, this kind of stuff wriggles into your brain ... plus, if they are that desperate to be hired they wont be messing around (being late, slacking off etc).

I wouldn't hire/gloss over her based on her dress sense though.
 

Doclector

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Aug 22, 2009
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In this situation, it wouldn't factor in, but I probably wouldn't recommend wearing that normally.

Though, in most situations, I'd say most clothes shouldn't matter at all. It baffles me that every job wants you to wear a suit to the interview. You could go apply for bloody dustbin man job and they'd want you to turn up wearing your smartest clothes!

It especially peeves me as the suit is one of the most impractical forms of attire ever. The jacket would normally have plenty of pockets, that's the only thing I like. Everything else...the shirt's normally terribly uncomfortable, especially in summer, the pants can't stand up to light drizzle, and just why the hell did anyone start wearing ties? Y'know what totally screams "Intelligent, well spoken businessman"? Wearing a strip of fabric around your neck like a posh noose! All day long!
 

renegade7

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Feb 9, 2011
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Professionalism is a qualification just like certification, degree, and prior experience. Even though "modest attire" (or something else to that effect) might not be explicitly stated in the interview requirements, and since by "low level retail" I assume you mean something like a cashier or floor attendant (who will probably a uniform anyway) what does it say about your work ethic and attitude if you show up for your interview dressed like you're about to hit the club?

I have conducted the first round of application interviews at my college in the past for work study. Basically I would sit down with them and ask a bunch of routine questions (good parts of high school, bad parts of high school, strengths, weaknesses, etc) and jot everything down. I rarely paid attention to dress, in high school school I had very little money and wore just a pair of slacks and the nicest thing I could pass off as a dress coat, so I didn't make any judgments based on the quality of the attire (cleanliness was another matter, of course).

However, I did get the occasional 17 or 18 year old girl coming in showing too much cleavage, my experience was that this usually accompanied flirting. No joke, you think college applicants trying to sweet-talk (as in, borderline seduce) you into admitting them is something you only see in the movies. I didn't have the authority to make any recommendations for admission or rejection, but I always made a note on the intro questionnaire if the interviewee was dressed or behaved inappropriately or unprofessionally.

How you dress says a lot about who you are. That's not to say that I go around making assumptions based on clothing, but there is a minimum level of decorum in a professional setting. If you refuse to maintain that it reflects poorly on your attitude.
 

kurokotetsu

Proud Master
Sep 17, 2008
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No you dhouldn't. I'm very much against rejecting someone based on apperances, looks and prejudice. You are basically discriminating her for using a blause you found inappropiate. I hate this kind of thing. Where her answers good? How is her CV? You now, the things that matter to the interview and to the job she will perform. Unless it is a job where wearing somehting is completely wrong, this should be a factor best ignored. The only point of an interview is to choose the best applicant. Do that. Who was the best in terms of preparation and other factors? Fuck clothes and prejudices asosciated with them.
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
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Dec 6, 2010
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I'd say base her on her skills and qualifications first and if she makes it to the final few, then base her on her attire. A low-cut shirt isn't that bad. Hell, maybe she wore it to try and help her get the job.
 

Aramis Night

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Mar 31, 2013
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Normally I would say that the cleavage should be a tie breaker vs. an equally qualified person with it working against her. But since the position is retail sales, I have to reverse it a bit and say that it should be seen as a tie breaker in her favor. If she is comfortable wearing low cut tops and isn't going to be in a uniform, then that would likely translate to better sales. I know it sounds terrible, but I've been managing a retail store for about 15 yrs now and worked retail before that for other companies. Fact is women who use sex appeal have an advantage when it comes to sales. I've seen the numbers myself. But she must otherwise be competent. You have to be sure that the sex appeal is a bonus to her skills, not making up for them. Sex appeal on its own does not trump or make up for a lack of product knowledge or customer service ability.
 

EeveeElectro

Cats.
Aug 3, 2008
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I think it's best to consider hiring someone based on how well and professional they come across in interviews rather than how they dress.

I don't know how low cut can be bad, we've all got different definitions of low-cut and I can't imagine her tits were literally spilling out.

Considering I have a few shirts that would look okay on smaller women, they look low cut on me because I'm big busted. That's not exactly my fault.

As long as she didn't look like a scruff and seemed like a good employee, I don't consider a slight bit of cleavage a bad idea.
There will be women who think "if I show a bit of boob or leg I'll get the job" then give a shoddy interview but this lady does not sound like one of those.

I don't know. You should definitely consider her if she gave a good interview but rejecting her over clothing just seems prejudice and unprofessional.
 

Illesdan

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Sep 15, 2008
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I've never had any one come interview for me and them not dressed appropriately. She probably thought she had an ace in the hole if she dressed sexy and interviewed well. Sorry, but this has 'sexual harassment suit' written all over it. If you hire this woman, likely she will keep dressing this way to think that this is how she will get ahead of the boys. And if she is there long enough and feels slighted in the least possible way, look out. She'll drag down anyone she can. I know; we had a real winner working in my department a few years ago who did just that. After a couple ofyears trying to fight it, the company just gave in and settled out of court with her.

Just saying, I'd look out if I were you.
 

Erana

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Feb 28, 2008
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If you're on the fence about it enough to ask the interwebz, then I'd try to better look at the circumstances surrounding the interviewee. What might have happened is that she gained a bit of weight since the last time that she wore that top. Because of the nature of my own breasts, I don't have a ton of cleavage, and thus I can wear shirt tops that go pretty far down without being vulgar, though there is a point where it would get a little inappropriate, of course. I know a lot of people experience a lot of fluctuation in their breasts with as little as ten pounds of gain or loss. She simply could have not given enough cares about her own breasts to even notice it.

That being said, I also have plenty of large-breasted people in my life, and sometimes they just can't not show cleavage unless they're wearing a turtle-neck. Seriously, they'll show cleavage in a T-shirt without trying. I wouldn't make a call either way without seeing the person in question, but I wouldn't be one to judge another based on neckline.
 

DugMachine

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Apr 5, 2010
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I'd have to see what she was wearing in person to offer fair judgement. What is attention grabbing to you could be minor to someone else. And while I've never given interviews I've always dressed my best no matter how shitty the position is. Dress modestly and professionally always I say.
 

Saltyk

Sane among the insane.
Sep 12, 2010
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Well, I'll say that if a person comes in unkempt, with clothes that are dirty, torn, or just too casual, that would be a valid reason. From the sounds of it, she wasn't wearing a AC/DC shirt that showed off cleavage. Simply a nice shirt that was low cut.

Now, she may have worn it thinking that a male interviewer would "like what he sees" and score her higher. Or she may have simply thought it was an appropriate shirt. As long as she looked professional and her breasts weren't hanging out like low hanging fruit, I don't think it's a problem. I wouldn't hold it against her. Whether she was professional and interviewed well is what's more important.

And yes, you should come in looking nice and well dressed regardless of the job. Be it a job at an accounting firm, doctor's office, garage, or fast food restaurant, you should strive to look like you care about your appearance and job. Not doing so may sound like a petty reason, but when an interviewer is meeting 20 people, being the one person who wore cut off jeans, a stained T-Shirt, and had a week old beard that you haven't even tried to trim is not doing you any favors.
 

Bellvedere

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Jul 31, 2008
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Without having seen the top in question, I think that's a valid reason to disqualify someone. If it seemed unprofessional to you, then it would probably seem unprofessional to some other people, like customers. Choosing an employee isn't just about choosing someone that is skilled. It's also about choosing someone that will be a positive representation of your company as well as someone that will fit in well with the current team. While you could suggest different attire were you to hire her, it is within your best interest, to save on company time and money, to choose the person whose standards already better reflect the view of the company.
 

skywolfblue

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Jul 17, 2011
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axlryder said:
Note that she did look fairly professional; it was just the low-cut top that stood out as being in poor taste to me.
This makes it sound like her attire is professional. I think you need more to go on then just a low cut. If she was scruffy, unkept, or the cut is so low her cleavage is hanging out then by all means reject her, but from what you make it sound it's only "slightly" low, which seems like an extremely petty thing to reject someone over.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

(Insert witty quote here)
Sep 10, 2008
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It sounds like you're nit-picking at this point, which if you're down to a select few applicants is pretty much par for the course when it comes down to job selection.

Ideally now would be a good time to do a second round of interviews but if you really need that place filled you might as well take her out of the running, if only to narrow down the pool some more.

Now if you were to drop her application early on due to this (particularly with what you said about the rest of her attire being professional) then there would be a problem.
 

Fireaxe

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Sep 30, 2013
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If she interviewed about the same as another candidate, and another candidate dressed better, you pick the other candidate.
 

Phantom Kat

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Sep 26, 2012
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Don't people generally have to submit CVs before you interview them? Surely you'd filter people by those to see whether or not they're qualified first, and the interview is for judging whether the person can present themselves up to the standard you want and for getting a more qualitative impression of the person.