I heard from my client that he lately interviewed programmers via Skype video call. He wanted a top-notch candidates so he interviewed only those who did 20+ project - very experienced ones. One of the candidates appeared on the interview in his undershirt!

Do you think that this candidate should be disqualified since he showed no respect to his client?

Does his interview outfit suggest his approach to projects as well? Meaning that this suggest he's a bad programmer as well.

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    Is your client hiring a programmer or a receptionist? Get your priority right first and then decide. Don't promote stereotypes. A top-notch programmer can program equally well, whether he wears a formal suit or swimsuit. – Masked Man Oct 20 '13 at 14:27
  • @Happy I'd venture he'd probably perform better in a swimsuit as he'd be more comfortable, but of course personal preference makes a difference there and there may well be people who are very comfy wearing a suit and tie with Italian loafers. – jwenting Oct 21 '13 at 9:37
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    There's a joke on a Dilbert strip about a client company not trusting Dilbert's because their engineers were overdressed. Then Dilbert himself showed up in an undershirt and they got the contract. I am with @Happy on this one. Also if you are going to run interviews through Skype, you should disregard clothing, as sure the person wouldn't wear that while in the office. – user10483 Oct 21 '13 at 14:32
  • My rule for something like this is as follows: if you're working on a conventional application the people you are interviewing would tend to follow norms. If the project is 'weird', you're going to get weirdos to work on them. Textbook case: biologists are not normally the kind of people that work on weapons - this is sort of obvious if you think about it. So, what kind of biologists work on weapons? Would it take someone sufficiently dangerous or deranged that they might use them if provoked? – Meredith Poor Oct 22 '13 at 9:12
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    @ThorbjørnRavnAndersen Good to know, and there you go. – user10483 Oct 22 '13 at 16:26

Do you think that this candidate should be disqualified since he showed no respect to his client?

I wouldn't hire someone who couldn't bother to be dressed for an interview.

But it's possible that fits in with your client's corporate culture, I suppose.

While I far prefer an informal dress policy for non-customer-facing employees (In general, I don't care what they wear as long as it is clean), I always suggest that people dress up a bit for interviews - at least until they learn the cultural norms of the company.

I can't imagine the reasoning the candidate used in his choice of attire. Perhaps he's looking for a company where he can work from home in his underwear. Perhaps he's lazy. Perhaps he was just looking to "stand out" during the interview. Either way, I'd probably cross him off my list.

What does your client think? That's probably the most important factor.

  • The client asked me for my comment and I told him I'll let him know in a day or two. As I said, a suit and tie for an interview may be too much (thou not the wrong thing as well), but a simple polo shirt, clean hair and shaved appearance is IMHO the minimum I can do to show respect to someone who will pay me thousands of dollars. So I would obviously cross that person as well. Just wanted to check if I am too rigid. – wpb Oct 20 '13 at 18:07
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    Or he was called blind, the recruiter not having informed him it was to be a video call. Have had telephone interviews where the call was supposed to be to arrange a meeting and ended up being the actual interview... – jwenting Oct 21 '13 at 9:39

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