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Home » Blog » The Death Of The Suit?

The Death Of The Suit?

Posted on June 2nd, 2017 by Gecko Recruitment

Death of suit

Images of Mark Zuckerberg in his grey t-shirt or Steve Ballmer striding around the stage in a sweat-stained blue shirt are not hard to find. The messages of Steve Jobs delivered while in his black turtleneck will inspire millions of people for years to come. Richard Branson hates ties and ensures that no one at Virgin wears them either.

Why have these leaders dispensed with the formalities of business dress? Surely it is a symbol of their authority and power over their minions? Surely a suit (or, of course, formal dress for the ladies) makes their staff feel important and empowered to make decisions?

Well, in a word, no. Our workplaces are increasingly meritocracies where performance is king and how you got there or what you looked like while you were doing it are secondary. Sitting at home when you were finalizing that crucial negotiation with your Chinese partners? No problem. Wear a shirt and Chinos into the office when you are not out meeting clients? Equally, not an issue for many employers.

In everyday situations such as working in an office or telecommuting from home, formal dress is not necessary in many companies. However, for formal occasions such as important meetings or interviews, a suit is still often a pre-requisite. I would like to ask the question why?

In an industry such as recruitment, where getting to know the individual is so important, why do we insist to candidates that they should get dressed up into uncomfortable formal dress when they normally wouldn’t wear anything like it at work? I would always advocate dressing one step up from the company dress code in an interview, so if they are all in jeans and jumpers, you will stand out like a sore thumb in a formal suit. You won’t “fit in” to their culture.

Also, there is another consideration for recruiters. Many candidates do not want to have to wear a suit in the office. As a recruiter for recruiters themselves, this is a particularly thorny issue. Many recruitment MDs want their staff to seem as professional as possible for their candidates and clients, and a suit has up to now been standard practice. However, as even the hedge fund guys go informal, could more recruiters also consider relaxing their rules and maybe appearing a little more approachable? I know a good few industry leaders who are relaxing their dress codes to match the changes within their client bases. However, it is not an uncommon situation for me to be unable to introduce a great candidate to a great business simply because their ideas on ‘dress code’ are out of whack even though in every other way they are a great match. Both are prepared to pass up an opportunity because of their firmly held beliefs on office attire.

I believe that it comes down to personal choice. If you feel better in a suit, then nothing should stop you wearing one. If slacks and a shirt are more your thing, then equally, you have every right. I myself generally prefer to wear a suit to meetings, (although I will almost always dispense with the tie) – mainly because I don’ t have much else decent to wear other than shorts! The trusty suit comes in handy for me just like putting your kids into their school uniform.

The days of employers dictating how you should dress are coming to an end. The days of the individual are here to stay. What is your view on this matter?

p.s. obviously the female variations of formal business dress are equally interchangeable throughout this article!

 

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