Bare legs -or not in interviews

Hello   – I was recently turned down for a job and after the interview. When I asked for  feedback I was told that my legs had been bare and one of the panel members had thought this was a negative. Is this quite harsh? I ticked all the boxes otherwise.. Suzie

Hi Suzie   – The song that said a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking has been replaced by bare legs to some. And no  – everything doesn’t go to finish the verse.

But the positive takeaways from this experience is that you asked for feedback. But yes, some companies are conservative,  even if the dress code for the office is smart casual, which can allow bare legs. The people working there already have jobs.  I always suggest that candidates dress appropriately for the sector they wish to interview for. Each profession also has its own uniform and judgments are made on appearances.

The old saying applies – dress for the job you want. Not the job you have!

However, unless you’re applying to be a life guard or another occupation where the dress code expectations would be different,  always dress formally for interviews, which will includes tights (pantyhose) or stockings.  Even then, unless you are interviewing at the side of a pool or on the beach, in any office situation full business attire would always be advisable.  You can always take them off when you leave the building.

Unknown factors

Recently one candidate I know, was advised not to come for a second interview wearing red (co-ordinating, expensive) ballet pumps. For some reason they would not have gone down well with the senior management and she was given the heads up before a second interview and went on to get the position. There are also cultural differences, age and even religious factors which might come into play and you may not even be aware of those until you get to the interview and meet the people involved. So caution is advisable.

Then there are the personal care minefields of  the state of your legs. The most important thing is for the focus to be on you – not your legs.  We know that women are judged more harshly on their appearance than men. Dry and flaking, tanned or un-tanned skin and health aspects,  varicose veins or unsightly blemishes are all tricky.  There is also a trend for some not to wear stockings even in the winter. For me there is nothing more unsightly than white goose- bump flesh, red and  blue with cold.  But that’s just me!

My own feeling is that you might have to consider that there were other deal breaking elements involved, but the interviewer chose not to disclose them.

But can a factor as small as bare legs play a key part even though you tick all the boxes?

Yes, regrettably it can.

About Dorothy Dalton

Dorothy is an International Talent Management Strategist, social entrepreneur and Co-Founder of 3Plus. She works on both sides of the executive search spectrum from” hire to retire”, specialising in sourcing hard to find candidates for executive search firms and international organisations, career transition coaching and training .