A terrible, vicious rumor!

Ryan Simpkins plug at ryansimpkins.com
Fri Jun 6 10:37:26 MDT 2014

On Wed, May 28, 2014 19:57, Tod Hansmann wrote:
> On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 4:59 PM, Chris Wood <chris at tincreek.com> wrote:
>> I like hats but I think they have their place. You mentioned interviews and
>> your hat which may bring you ill luck. I think it is a bit short sighted to
>> think you wouldn't want to work somewhere that would judge you on your hat.
>> The interview process is totally a judging process. A hat could be welcome
>> in the workplace, it could be an awesome company culture, it could be a
>> great job, but you may miss out because somebody doesn't like hats.  You
>> may go through an interview process that includes many people that have a
>> chance to judge you (right or wrong). Why give them the chance to miss out
>> on hiring you because they misjudged the hat?
> Well, I guess that's /thread I guess.  Yeah, I'm actually formulating a
> position on it that's basically what you've said here.  Up till now I've
> just not even thought about it, honestly.  I just wear the hat, because...
> well, I wear pants.  I'm not exactly aware of fashion, I just feel
> comfortable in my hat (and pants typically).

I do a fair amount of interviewing. What people are wearing is a very distant
concern. My advice is probably really bad advice... wear whatever professional
attire makes you comfortable (clean jeans up to suit+tie, a clean kilt is also
acceptable). Doing something that isn't 'you' will put you on edge. In an
interview that is what I notice and remember. Candidates that do well are (or
at least appear) relaxed and engaged. They put me at ease, which puts them at
ease. A kind of feedback loop. The top candidates make you feel like you've
known them for years within 15 minutes of meeting them.

The most common attire for candidates in engineering type roles is slacks and
a polo. When I ramp up the technical grilling these candidates have a tendency
to do better because they are comfortable. Candidates who come in wearing a
suit, who obviously don't normally wear suits, have a tendency to get nervous
for some reason. We have only hired one person who wore a suit and tie to the
interview in the last 8 years. That person wore a tie every day to work. They
were comfortable in it. There are plenty of exceptions, this is just a general

So relax. Show me you can think, that you really care about what you do, and
your *-fu is worthy. The biggest challenges we face are related to how people
interact. Technical challenges are secondary. Show me you can dive in to a
tense high-stakes discussion, put everyone at ease, and then rock the
technicals. You will get a *glowing* recommendation every time. Hat or no hat.
Kilt or no kilt. Tie or no tie. Though some kind of clothes are probably


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