Today on http://careers.stackoverflow.com I saw a job add for a position in Berlin, which listed one of benefits :

casual dress: shorts, flip-flops, tshirts, you name it!

I know that such dressing is a big no-no for a job, and less for an interview, in conservative areas (and Germany is very conservative, considering there are people to advise how to dress up, and prepare people for an interview).

But would it be ok to show up badly dressed (for example in flip-flops) to test if they said it is ok?

  • Are you intending to ask in general, or more specifically for Germany? I suspect this may be fairly country specific. – enderland Oct 27 '13 at 5:49
  • Have an application which you and associates wrote, which is driving thousands of hits a day, and a confession that you have no idea what to do with it. When you meet your financiers, wear purple beach sandals, scraggly denim shorts, and sleeveless hoodie. No one will fault you at the meeting. – Blessed Geek Oct 27 '13 at 8:20
  • @enderland No, it is not country specific. The position I saw is in Germany. – BЈовић Oct 27 '13 at 8:26
  • Why is this question being downvoted? It's a straightforward question. – user10911 Oct 28 '13 at 0:49
  • 2
    @user1068446 probably because some people think it is stupid question. – BЈовић Oct 28 '13 at 5:44

My guideline for this is to always dress "a notch" better than what I would wear everyday on that job so that would be "no" to your question.

You will have the occasion to see if they "mean" their policy of loose dress code when you actually go for the interview and see the other employees and how they are dressed.

  • 6
    I agree with the notch. If their dress-code is flip-flops, wearing a suit can work to your disadvantage. – Paul Hiemstra Oct 27 '13 at 6:42
  • My first thought was to dress a notch better, so I would show up for the interview in jeans, sneakers and a (not too tattered, faded or obscene) t-shirt. – Carson63000 Oct 27 '13 at 23:43
  • @PaulHiemstra: true, there are two separate axes here. How "smart" is the dress code, and how "strict" is the dress code. Unfortunately "casual" is an antonym of both, but you're talking about companies that have are strict about their casual dress code: suits and shoes not permitted. – Steve Jessop Mar 9 '15 at 13:04

No. Here's why:

  • At that interview, you will be selling the hiring company on your own personal brand.
  • At that interview, your apparel, personal grooming, body language, swagger (or lack thereof), mannerisms, and vocabulary will all be evaluated.
    • They will "say" much more than your resume ever could.
  • Therefore, you should always be inclined to "overdress" for an interview rather than "underdress".
  • If you earn a position at the hiring company, there will be plenty of time later to wear shorts and flip-flops.

If you hang around with the employees of that company and you're all dressed like tramps then it could hardly matter what you do at an interview - your 'real' interview occurred in the beer joint (-hall, -garten, or whatever they call it in Berlin). However, I wouldn't wear a suit or even a tie, either.

If you have any way of meeting some of the people before you do the interview do this first. If not, dress in reasonable street clothes. Your interviewer is probably not going to be running around with a shirt tail hanging out, but it is likely you'll be given a tour and you'll see the 'real people'. Most likely you'll find a few that are 'out there', but most will look at home in a college classroom.

Dress the way you're most comfortable. Very often programming groups dress in scraggly clothes to drive off certain people they don't want around - usually 'corporate types'. Focus on the technical side and ignore the clothes - this may be the message they want everyone to get.

"Clerk needed for mail order stockroom in nudist camp. All interviews are in person."


No. At an interview you are generally expected to dress better than the people do who are working there every day. You don't have to wear a suit since they are so casual. But you shouldn't wear flip flops or shorts.


That depends upon what you want to get out of the interview. There are many reason why you might go to an interview and you can get multiple things out of an interview.

That said, if you are not offered the position, you may not be able to determine whether your dress was a factor in their decision. So, if that is what you seek to learn, it may not be possible.

If what you are interested in is working at a place where showing up in flip flops is acceptable, I would suggest dressing as you would like to work - if that is in flipflops then, yes, if it's in tennis shoes and a T-shirt, then that.

The real challenge is what to do if you like wearing three piece power suits, and to that I'd say -- wear the suit, but be start off the interview by saying you hope they don't hold it against, but you really like suits and hope they can accept that.


I would dress casually to the level I felt comfortable. Being too dressed-up may be a sign you wouldn't fit in the company culture.

Hopefully, they posted this in the spirit of being transparent about the company and not as playing some type of game to see who falls for this trap and chooses not to dress professionally. If they're going something evil, they'll be doing you a favor by not hiring you. If possible, post this nonsense and let everyone know to watch out.

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