With lockdowns affecting a large proportion of the country, I thought that I would run a series of short topics and polls relating to virtual interviews to gather and share people’s thoughts on different aspects of this now more mainstream interview process.


First-up It’s ‘What to Wear’

We’re all guilty of realising that we’ve spent hours, if not days or weeks, wearing sweatpants, gym gear or pyjamas whilst working.  We may have even got a bit lazy when dressing for a Teams or Zoom meetings with other people within the company.

However, what is happening in the rest of the ‘virtual world’ when it comes to interviews and making that vital first impression?

What will your interviewer be wearing?  Can you over-dress?  What if you under-dress?

The Poll Results

It was interesting watching the voting over the course of the three days that it ran for as the percentages for each remained pretty steady throughout.  The overwhelming response was that there is still the opinion that you must dress smartly; either formal wear or smart business swear (a combined 74% of the votes) vs smart casual or no preference at all (26%). Poll Results


There is no doubt that the impact of Covid is being felt across our industry.  However, the market has reacted in a very different way to 18 months ago when it first hit; pipelines are still strong and tenders and awards are happening in high numbers.  There is huge optimism; and this is reflected in the high numbers of positions available across consultancies of all sizes and across all levels of seniority.

This shows that making that vital first impression is still key to employers as well as important to candidates going through the interview process.

Beyond the Poll

This is also backed-up by my experiences talking to hiring managers and candidates across a wide section of the consulting engineering market.

9 times out of 10 hiring managers will ensure that they are at least in smart wear and would expect the candidate to match this, if not go one further and dress in formal wear.  Some hiring managers even said that a candidate who dresses too casually puts themselves at an immediate disadvantage compared to if they had dressed at least in smart business wear.


In engineering, if in doubt, always dress up not down.  No one in this field ever lost out on a job by wearing a suit or tie, or by putting a jacket over that shirt or blouse!

Of course, what you wear on your bottom half is entirely up to you and could be a topic in it’s own

right…be careful if you need to stand-up during the interview is all I will say on this!


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