Social Experiment

I conducted a social experiment at a two-day career fair.
Why? I like to test behavioral responses and new ideas. It’s something like a hobby.

On the first day of the career fair, I wore a bright red suit.

The suit was fabulous, fiery, loud, and proud (but still professional).
It gave me some serious career fair swag ;).

On the second day, I wore an ultra-conservative business casual ensemble.

It was a not-so-special outfit that’d pass most office dress codes.

On the first day, I landed no additional interviews.

So, was it me or the suit? I had to find out.

That was quickly answered by day two.

There was a huge shift in how I was treated by recruiters and peers.

I had the same resume and pitch, just different clothing.

Day two’s plain outfit landed me multiple interviews.
Also, lots and lots of business cards from professionals at the event.

Phew! I felt relieved but conflicted.

It turns out the red suit was a major turn off for several of the engineering, consulting, and finance companies I spoke to, even though I had the skills and experience they required.

Are skilled candidates immediately dismissed because, on the surface, they don’t appear to fit the company’s culture?

Diversity > monoculture.

I’ll be keeping my red suit.

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