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Author Topic: The right attire for a TT interview?  (Read 26050 times)
egilson
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2012, 12:41:47 AM »

Jerry Lewis gives me intestinal cramps.

The least-formally dressed male candidate I've seen for a job at my R1 wore tan trousers, a navy blazer, blue shirt, tie, and dress shoes, and I'm sure at least one other was in a full suit. Most of the women have been in either black slacks and a jacket or a suit with a knee-length skirt except for one young woman who really could have used about three inches more hem to look professional. Watching her sit down made me nervous.

A good-quality and good-fitting suit is not uncomfortable, so a visit to a tailor or an alterations shop might be useful if yours is. If you can't stand wearing a tie, then maybe you're wearing a collar that's half an inch too small like I did for years until the salesperson at a higher-end department store frowned, said, "No, I doubt that's your size," and pulled out a tape measure. Wear an undershirt as well, even if like me you normally don't. Knowing you're much less likely to show flop sweat can really help you feel more confident.

I prefer jeans and hiking shoes, but when I need to dress up I want not only a tie but also a pocket square and shiny shoes. Remember, the Doctor always dresses up, and so should you if you're one.
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totoro
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2012, 2:47:52 AM »

I've gotten several R1 job offers (STEM) over the years and I've never worn a coat or tie to interviews. I just got an offer (with tenure) from a top ivy in my field and I wore Levis and a button-up shirt (tucked in) for my job seminar.

Having been on both sides of the job search table I'd say that suits and ties usually feel awkward. Of course this may depend on the culture of the department you're visiting, but I have yet to visit a department in my field where people think suits are cool.

Underdressing a bit exudes confidence, but I'd say your shirt should probably have buttons. And be tucked in. At least for the seminar.

If you are the kind of person who can get tenure at an Ivy then probably it doesn't really matter what you wear to the interview. I've always thought it is much safer to dress up for an interview rather than down, though I haven't always worn a suit when I've known something about the local culture (interviewing in environment schools/centres). I'm an economist though. Wearing a suit to an interview at an economics department can never be a wrong move even if most academic economists don't dress up that much on a day to day basis.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2012, 7:46:14 AM »

This conversation is getting hotter.

Naked job interviews.

There. NOW this conversation is hotter.

Quote
I personally don't like formal dresses


I personally do not recommend wearing a prom dress. I'd rather go naked.
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macadamia
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« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2012, 7:56:56 AM »

Lewis & shirt? Which "top IVY school" hired you? Consider yourself lucky. You probably got the R1 offer because all other candidates came to the airport naked.

I really wonder about people who generalise from the culture in their own field.

In my field, it is definitely regarded as a sign of strength if you feel you can show up underdressed (even to our standards). Of course, the rest of your CV and presentation has to corroborate this. You cannot come barefoot and then hedge your way through your answers.

But I agree with the problem of meeting higher-ups in the administration.
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tenured_feminist
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« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2012, 9:09:12 AM »

I've always had this fantasy of interviewing in one of Jane Gallop's necktie skirts.

Fiona for the win. We had to take a job candidate to a big box store at 7AM once to purchase interview attire, including underwear and socks.
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marigolds
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« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2012, 10:17:56 AM »

I've always had this fantasy of interviewing in one of Jane Gallop's necktie skirts.

Fiona for the win. We had to take a job candidate to a big box store at 7AM once to purchase interview attire, including underwear and socks.

Lost luggage?  Showed up nude? Your own graduate student?

Tell me more.
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tenured_feminist
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« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2012, 10:24:28 AM »

Checked bag sent to wrong destination = candidate with only a polo shirt, an undershirt, a pair of jeans and a belt, crew socks, and one pair of underwear in his possession clotheswise, as they were on his person when he arrived. His flight arrived late to boot, so by the time it was confirmed that his luggage had indeed gone astray, no shopping options were open. The chair of the search committee kindly volunteered to run him out before his 8 AM breakfast the next morning.

He is one of those rare people in my corner of the profession who has some real style sense, so he showed up from his shopping trip dressed a bit unconventionally but looking extremely sharp. We made him the offer.
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Quote
You people are not fooling me. I know exactly what occurred in that thread, and I know exactly what you all are doing.
macadamia
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« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2012, 7:49:27 PM »

Checked bag sent to wrong destination = candidate with only a polo shirt, an undershirt, a pair of jeans and a belt, crew socks, and one pair of underwear in his possession clotheswise, as they were on his person when he arrived. His flight arrived late to boot, so by the time it was confirmed that his luggage had indeed gone astray, no shopping options were open. The chair of the search committee kindly volunteered to run him out before his 8 AM breakfast the next morning.

He is one of those rare people in my corner of the profession who has some real style sense, so he showed up from his shopping trip dressed a bit unconventionally but looking extremely sharp. We made him the offer.

It is an excellent idea to let the chair of the search committee pick your attire.
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totoro
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« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2012, 7:55:06 PM »

I showed up to a conference in Atlanta in January in 2 feet of snow (unusually) wearing sandals. Luckily I had the bag with my coat in it. I had to go out in the snow the next morning wearing sandals to go buy some shoes. It was 40C in Australia the day I left.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 7:55:37 PM by totoro » Logged
heliothryx
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« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2012, 2:23:56 PM »

Lewis & shirt? Which "top IVY school" hired you? Consider yourself lucky. You probably got the R1 offer because all other candidates came to the airport naked.

I've gotten several R1 job offers (STEM) over the years and I've never worn a coat or tie to interviews. I just got an offer (with tenure) from a top ivy in my field and I wore Levis and a button-up shirt (tucked in) for my job seminar.

Having been on both sides of the job search table I'd say that suits and ties usually feel awkward. Of course this may depend on the culture of the department you're visiting, but I have yet to visit a department in my field where people think suits are cool.

Underdressing a bit exudes confidence, but I'd say your shirt should probably have buttons. And be tucked in. At least for the seminar.

Which school? One of the large research-oriented ones. I actually think I got the offer because they like me and my work, not because of any nakedness (unfortunately).

For interviews I simply try to dress like most of the other faculty members in the department, but maybe on the slightly nicer side (no t-shirts, holes in clothes, sandals, I wash my hair). I want to present myself as an easy-going collegial guy, not a desperate self-conscious wannabe.

Like I say, I have been on both sides of the table for searches at high profile R1s. Overdressing is worse than slightly underdressing. Speaking from my own experience in my corner of the STEM world I feel strongly that sport coats, blazers, ties, shiny dress shirts, etc. can contribute to an air of awkward desperation and psychological separation from the academic community that is evaluating you for membership.

On search committees I have never heard clothing come up as a topic, but social fit has. You want to work as hard as possible to mesh socially with those who are interviewing you. Dress like them as much as possible to help them visualize sipping coffee, beer, or whiskey with you.
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dr_prephd
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« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2012, 11:42:19 AM »

On search committees I have never heard clothing come up as a topic, but social fit has. You want to work as hard as possible to mesh socially with those who are interviewing you.

Yes, while SCs would likely never use clothing as an overt disqualifier, it most definitely has an (understood / subconscious) effect on their perception of a candidate's fit.
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big_giant_head
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« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2012, 10:12:47 AM »

When I interviewed last, I (a woman) wore black Dockers and a button-down shirt with pale aqua stripes. Shoes with no heels, because I cannot walk in heels. I actually apologized to one of the SC members for not dressing more formally, but explained that I was an adjunct--a fact they all already knew, of course--and thus could not afford nicer clothes. The SC member was taken aback by my assumption that they would care even a tiny bit what I wore. (I think her comment was something like "What? No, you're fine. What?")

I was hired. I have since sat on SC's and seen candidates wear everything from formal (to me, at least) suits to jeans with short-sleeve shirt and tie. Their attire has never been commented on by anyone.

But as has been noted above, this works in my field. I doubt it would hold true for, say, a Business school.
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chroniclerony
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« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2012, 11:02:46 AM »

If I am in a SC I would never stress on clothing as long as it is decent. At the same time I will not vote for some one who shows no respect and seriousness by choosing inappropriate attire. I believe, regardless to the discipline business or fine art there is well accepted and generalized norm of dress selection. If I do not go to pool wearing a dress shirt why would I attend a Job interview wearing swim suit. A decent neutral colored shirt, dress pant, shoe, blazer/coat/jacket and a tie or not - that's all it needs.
I bought mine new from KOHL'S from 80% discount section. A white shirt, dark ash pant, a tie, and dark coat was purchased with the intention to use for multiple interviews for well below $50.
My thought on this line is - be moderate as most (almost every one) like modest people. Overdressing often than not express your arrogance (talk more than work kinda personality who lives above their income to only show up). Dress under -- you are not serious at all, you don't care, you are not disciplined, if hired you will not do your job properly.
Believe me, it is harder than you think to stay down to earth and show positive attitude. 
 
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csguy
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Computer Science faculty


« Reply #28 on: May 11, 2012, 11:32:37 AM »

I've generally worn a suit but generally tried to project "I'm only wearing this because I'm interviewing" vibe as appropriate.
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polly_mer
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« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2012, 5:52:59 PM »

I've generally worn a suit but generally tried to project "I'm only wearing this because I'm interviewing" vibe as appropriate.

I've done pretty well doing the same thing.  The only time I wear a suit is when I interview.
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