Casual is the new smart – but interviews are different

Even at the extremely young age of 35, (yes I know I am older than most of you!) I have seen a dramatic change over the past 20 years in regards to what dress code is accepted in various situations. Go back to 1996 and you would find me in a pair of pressed trousers and a tucked in Ben Sherman just to get through the door of my favorite bar on the streets of Maidstone.

I have grown up thinking that smart is best and on my yearly trip back to those same streets with my old mates, I still wear a nice shirt and a smart pair of jeans with my hardly used polished shoes. Its what I feel comfortable in and although the trousers are now jeans and the shirt is untucked, I still feel like I have made an effort.

Then I look around me and 2 things spring to mind…

1) I am about 15 years older than the next oldest person here


2) Did these kids just come straight from the park?

Safe to say that when it comes to filling bars and clubs in 2016, the competition for our business is so fierce that you can pretty much wear anything and they will let you in.

But does that mean you should?

In my working career, I have always been just as traditional when it comes to making an impression. My first job was a temporary position at Comet in 1996 and I arrived for my interview in a nice new suit, with clean shoes and a nice tie. 20 years on and if I were to find myself needing to find another job tomorrow, my approach would be exactly the same.

The relaxed nature of some industries has meant that over the years our attitude towards how people look when they are supposed to be making their first impression has become far too relaxed. This means that we have created a culture for people to think its acceptable to arrive for an interview in jeans, trainers, no tie, no jacket, no shave and no preparation.

I remember interviewing someone many years ago for a warehouse job who arrived on the day in a tracksuit. Safe to say he was swiftly asked to leave and take him self back to the job centre for another list of positions he wouldn’t get.

It doesn’t matter what you wear day to day at work, an interview is different in every way. This is your chance to tell a story about you and what you will offer that business. Wearing a suit with clean shoes and a nice tie says you have made an effort, you want this job and you care about peoples perception of you.


Wearing jeans and a t shirt simply says you don’t care and you expect to get this job no matter what. It says you are arrogant, lazy and rude. It says you are a chump.

At C7, we are very casual, jeans and t shirt most days as we are not client facing 90% of the time. We have made our impressions and earned that right to dress down because we do a good job. When people see this in any industry, they make the assumption that because we wear casual clothes daily, why arrive for an interview in anything else?

In 2016, casual is certainly the new smart and even if I am meeting clients, the suit trousers stay in the cupboard and you will find me in my best jeans with a nice shirt and a smart jacket. The affiliate industry is very casual and suits are a thing of the past however I will never go too far past that line.

I cannot stress enough however that when you are going for an interview, that first impression is everything and people are looking for someone that has made a huge effort, leaving nothing to chance. Top buttons undone, no tie, untucked shirts, dirty shoes are all a big no no if you want to start the interview well. Once you are in the door and have earned the right to relax, then great. Just don’t relax before you even start!

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