No second chances at the first impression - or maybe there are? - TÜV Rheinland

No second chances at the first impression – or maybe there are?

No second chances at the first impression – or maybe there are?

Your job interview’s coming up. You have prepared yourself very well for the interview: You know exactly what you’re going to say about yourself. Nothing will upset you. But then you remember: “What am I supposed to wear?”

The “ideal” outfit for women and men?

Especially at 30 degrees, the classic suit with blouse or shirt and the good suit trousers made of strong cotton can quickly make you sweat. As if the nervousness wasn’t already making you sweat.

The list of dress codes is long: men typically are confronted with two choices- a suit and tie vs. shirt and trousers. Not to mention what kind of trousers – jeans or chinos? According to guidebooks, a heavily patterned shirt is too distracting, but in black and white you don’t stand out enough from the crowd and the applicants want to be remembered. A T-shirt is possible, but not always.

That makes it a lot easier for women? You thought wrong! A skirt in the summer can be worn, but the skirt should not go above the knee – better yet, it should be below the knee. It depends on the company, whether it is more conservative or more modern? Well, the company site does not answer the question of the appropriate skirt length. Open-toed shoes are fine, but the toes have to be covered. Remember the tights, but make sure they’re the right skin tone. Oh, and don’t let the blouse unbutton too much. I’d rather have one button more closed, or two. Or maybe three? It’s best to wear the blazer, even over the dress. But the dress is supposed to cool down a bit in summer temperatures, the blazer won’t help.

Some guidebooks even give tips on appropriate accessories such as bags and jewelry or the perfect “application hairstyle”. With so many do’s and don’ts, you can only do something wrong as an applicant.

Praise second chances – your personality counts

“First impressions count”, “Clothes make the man”, “There is no second chance for a first impression” – these and many more wise words are given to applicants. No wonder that the question about the right clothes can put a candidate under pressure. According to some advisors, getting hired depends on the choice of clothing. The wrong choice of clothing can have a strong influence on the conversation or lead to the person you are talking to not being able to listen, because they are too distracted. Here I ask myself, what does the applicant even have to wear, so that an interlocutor can no longer follow the conversation?

Bewerbungsgespräch Outfir-Tipps

I have never experienced it before that an item of clothing distracted me so much that I was no longer able to listen. It is also my responsibility as a recruiter to make sure that I am concentrated in the interview and not distracted by the shoes of an applicant. I have also never heard that an applicant was not considered for a job because the person did not wear a tie, even though the interviewer did. Should it come to that, I have to seriously ask myself whether the lack of skilled workers allows us to be so meticulous about clothing.

The famous first impression is considered to be the decisive three seconds that decide on success or failure in a job interview. From a psychological point of view, the first impression helps us to assess unknown people. It gives us a feeling of security because it enables us to understand, evaluate, and predict behavior. And how does this work? By putting our counterpart into pigeonholes and each of these pigeonholes is marked by stereotypes, clichés, and prejudices.

There is some truth in the statement “there is no second chance for a first impression”. And yes, clothing manipulates this impression. But how often have we experienced that our image of the person opposite us did not correspond to reality?

Is it really worth letting a good candidate go because the shirt was too colourful? Absolutely not! What counts for us is personality, knowledge, and experience.

What does an employee at TÜV Rheinland wear?

The question now remains as to which is the right choice of clothes for a job interview at TÜV Rheinland. The answer is as versatile as TÜV Rheinland itself. If you have ever walked through our Cologne location, you will find that everything is available, from overalls, jeans and T-shirts to dresses with white sneakers or suits with ties. Depending on the area, team culture, and occupation, the differences are very big.

So just be yourself and wear what you feel comfortable in. Sounds like an empty phrase, but feeling comfortable is the most important thing. After all, you want to concentrate on the conversation and not constantly thinking about the tie cutting you off or your dress slipping while sitting down. After all, only the application documents or the interview should provide deep insights into your knowledge.

As a rule of thumb for summer temperatures, if it feels too much like a festival or summer holiday, it’s not the right thing to do (also applies to non-summer temperatures, by the way).

Some areas, such as IT, are often said to be generally more “relaxed” with their dress code. This is certainly true. But if you are someone who prefers a suit or dress or blazer instead of a hoody, that’s fine. The practiced dress code should not prevent you from joining us.

Clothing is not everything

Don’t panic when it comes to the dress code. If we see in you an interesting person who fits the team, the job, and the company, your clothing will not influence this.

If a certain dress code applies in your new role, we will let you know. If you are still unsure about what we consider “appropriate clothing”, talk to your recruiter. We will gladly help you.

By the way, since we do more video interviews due to Corona, we can’t see if a shirt is worn on top and shorts on the bottom. So the hot summer should not be a problem. 😉


Franziska Scharpel

Author: Franziska Scharpel

Franziska Scharpel is a recruiter specialized in the IT sector. From cybersecurity experts and consultants for cybersecurity services to specialists for functional safety and operational technology. Software developers and IT project managers also belong to Franziska’s target group. Every morning, the TÜV Tower, which is only two kilometres away, shines a light on the Cologne-based woman. At the same time, she studies business psychology alongside her job. As a real summer person, she is drawn to the Rhine outside in good weather with a psychological thriller book or to the garden for a barbecue with friends and family.

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