interview attire

Meghann Douglas mdouglas at
Wed Oct 11 10:12:16 EST 1995

In article <45er8q$go2 at> pbowne at (Patricia S. Bowne) writes:
>From: pbowne at (Patricia S. Bowne)
>Subject: interview attire
>Date: 10 Oct 1995 17:14:50 -0500

>In a discussion about science careers today, my students started
>asking about appropriate clothing to wear to interview for a lab
>job. What are your opinions? I was trained in an ecology-intensive
>graduate school, and we hardly recognized anyone as a scientist
>who didn't have mud on her hiking boots, but what do lab managers
>see as professional interview attire?

>Pat Bowne

There was a lengthy discussion of this same topic on
a few months ago.  My 'interpretive' summary would go something like this:

Science doesn't happen in a vacuum, therefore there will always be components
dealing with funding agents, with teaching, and with the public.  Employers
cannot overlook these functions in their "pool" of human resources.  While
some may be large or lucky enough to have special staff to do these things, 
most do not.  The result is that professional-looking dress (ie suit/business 
attire) is recommended.  While it doesn't prove your scientific capabilities, 
it does create the impression of a well-rounded individual who is capable of 
carrying the ball in other territories, not just in the lab.  Given a choice 
of equally capable scientists, employers look for capable spokespersons too.

My own observation is that both Canada and the US have a strong visual 
component in our culture.  If body language and personal care say "sloppy" 
then you've put yourself back a notch before you even start.  You only get one 
chance to make a first impression.  Is this "fair"? No.  Does this mean you 
can't do your work? No.  It means that there's more to getting ahead in our 
particular world than only having a good cv.  A male colleague here on short 
term contract said something that hit the nail on the head "You don't dress 
for the job you've GOT, you dress for the job you WANT."

That's my two bits worth!

Meghann Douglas
Animal Industry Branch
N.B. Dept. Agriculture

Standard caveats on offer.

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