Search
Advice » Job Hunt Strategy» Getting Started » Dressing for Job Fairs

Dressing for Job Fairs

Have you ever considered wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt to a job fair? After all, you're probably going to be on your feet all day, so you might as well forget the suit and tie or hosiery and high heels in favor of comfort. And who gets hired at a job fair anyway? The people in the booths are usually low- to mid-level recruiters with very little say in the hiring process, and you're really just there to drop off a resume and move on to the next booth.

Does that describe what you think about job fairs?

The US Department of Labor says 16 percent to 18 percent of all job seekers find jobs at career fairs. So the reality is that your formal interview begins the moment the person behind the booth lays eyes on you.

Most job seekers know you have to kick it up a notch -- or even two -- for an interview. So why do so many slack off when dressing for a job fair? Perhaps it's because you really can't read the minds of the people behind those booths. They all seem cheerful and sociable, but what are they really thinking? What is their power in the hiring process, and just how important is your manner of dress to them?

What Recruiters Say

Several years ago, in an effort to help my own career-coaching clients make the most of career fairs, I did an informal survey of more than 40 job fair recruiters. These recruiters described their gut reactions to both people who dressed extremely casually and those who obviously had taken the time to sport clean, pressed, conservative formalwear. Frankly, the results were startling.

Almost universally, recruiters at these events said that, simply on the basis of seeing the job seeker -- and before the seeker ever reached their booth, talked to them or handed over their resume -- that the prospect dressed in extremely casual clothing struck them as being unprepared, irresponsible, less capable, less educated, less qualified and possessing poor work habits.

On the other hand, they described more formally dressed individuals as capable, well-educated, intelligent, trustworthy and responsible -- the people they wanted to hire.

Now we all know that wearing faded jeans, a sweater and tennis shoes certainly does not make you less intelligent or capable than someone dressed in more traditionally formal business clothes. It's absurd to base a hiring decision on the basis of appearance. Isn't it?

Mind Your First Impressions

As much as you may hate to admit it, most people do judge other people within seconds of meeting them. Ever experienced love at first sight -- or the opposite? Making a conscious or subconscious decision in the first few seconds you see someone doesn't mean you're a snob; it means you're human. And so are the folks who recruit at job fairs.

A formal study of hiring managers in more than 400 companies by the San Jose Mercury News concluded the average employer makes a hiring decision within 15 seconds of meeting you. The study simply illustrates a point that psychologists and scientists have known for a long time: A part of the human brain is specifically designed to size up a stranger in the first few seconds. It is a built-in feature of the human nervous system to determine, within seconds, whether a stranger approaching us is friend or foe. And that's the very mechanism that drives employers, recruiters and human resource representatives to (perhaps not consciously) evaluate a person on the basis of appearance.

So when you get ready to attend a job fair, pull out a professional outfit, pick some businesslike shoes, get your hair trimmed and go for it!

Latest Jobs

CyberCoders
Posted: 04/18/2014
Chicago, IL, 60602
Recruiting Firm
Posted: 04/18/2014
Raleigh, NC, 27601
Recruiting Firm
Posted: 04/18/2014
Thành phố New York, NY
Recruiting Firm
Posted: 04/18/2014
Philadelphia, PA, 19102
Recruiting Firm
Posted: 04/18/2014
Atlanta, GA, 30303

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.1.40.6-315
eTrustLogo