I’ve never quite understood the interview. It’s fake.
We dress up in clothes we rarely wear and often don’t feel comfortable in. We put so much importance on a single block of time which results in tons of build up, stress and anxiety. Why are we creating this fake environment instead of showing our real selves?
When looking at a full time job, a third of our day, if not more, is going to be spent in the office working with these people who we are dressing up to impress. During all those hours we are portraying the true versions of ourselves since we are doing what we, hopefully, enjoy. While the interview feels gross and awkward.
Let me take a step back. There are examples where dressing up in our Sunday best makes sense, specifically when the interview outfit and work day outfit are one and the same.
However, I’m talking about jobs where in the interview we are dressing up and for the average work day we are putting a slight bit of thought into our outfit and that’s it. These unofficial uniforms then carry over to the overall culture.
The first time I met the CEO of National Galactic (formally Colupon) I wore a button down and jeans. My average outfit during the week? A button down or sweater with jeans (it gets cold in Connecticut). And during that first meeting at our local Starbucks, it was a relaxed conversation where we were getting to know each other and the opportunity at hand. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, I was simply being myself.
On the other hand when I worked at Apple in retail, during every part of the interview process I felt obligated to dress up. Wearing those clothes made me feel uncomfortable and made the experience more formal than it was. When I started working there, dressing up was optional. Wearing shorts or jeans with our Apple shirt was the norm. Almost every day I worked there it was a fun and engaging experience, which is the exact opposite of the interview process.
Again, one size doesn’t fit all but I think there is room for us to rethink what an interview is and how it plays into the overall culture that the company is cultivating.