The Death of the Sharp Suited, Slick Haired Recruiter:

Like it or not many recruiters and the recruitment industry generally is often regarded as on a par with estate agents, unscrupulous lawyers, and snake oil salesmen. For me that is a very unfair and unwarranted comparison but if we are all honest, the industry sometimes does not help itself. We have all met the stereotypical shiny suited, sharp pointy shoe wearing, overly hair gelled recruiter who struts around with an inflated ego and massively optimistic view of their own skills. Often the more immaculate the suit, the less impressive the wearer.

However, their days may be numbered. The world is changing. “Smart Casual” is on the march and in many companies, ties are now “so last week”. Even that one time Goliath of the establishment, Goldman Sachs, has recently announced that it has relaxed its dress code and that its technology staff can wear (and I quote) “totally casual dress”. Admittedly that is only in the geeky realm of IT guys who have long loved a pair of battered trainers and an Iron Maiden T-shirt…..but it’s a start.

I attend meetings with all levels of managers, both in banking and other sectors. Tie wearers have now become a rarity and in many cases suits are also on the decline. We are currently doing a lot of work with the Digital division of a major bank and almost everyone wears Jeans. Shirts vary from old school fairly smart to Lumberjack checks.

Some ex-managers of mine, going back into the old school days of recruitment, firmly believed in the “you are what you wear” philosophy, and that you would not be able to perform properly or be taken seriously unless you were kitted out like James Bond at all times. Personally, I always thought that was a load of old rubbish. I feel much more comfortable, relaxed and able to perform when I’m casual and happy. For me that is Jeans and a shirt and increasingly much of the world seems to be following.

However, it does pose us, recruiters, a real problem. When attending meetings you either need to know your client well or take a stab in the dark at what the best attire will be to meet each customer. In the digital/web world you know you will get away with almost anything as long as it is vaguely presentable. In other industries such as banking and insurance it’s a bit of a gamble and woe betide the bright young recruiter who turns up dressed like Olly Murs only to meet an Old Etonian in a hand made 3 piece from Savillle Row. So my advice would be, as in all things, do your research, know your client and dress accordingly. Smart Casual may be where it is at……..but a good suit can still go a long way (but ditch those pointy shoes!)

By John Hannam - LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnhannam/