Woman Praised for Rejecting Job Offer Over Comment Made About Her Outfit: 'Inappropriate'

A woman has been urged to trust her "gut" after rejecting a job with a company that apparently openly criticized her choice of attire for the interview.

In a post shared to Mumsnet, the woman described how she was left feeling uneasy after receiving a phone call in which she was offered the role but also told she had dressed "very inappropriately for a job interview."

"I was wearing a black flower skirt that is just above the knee, a mustard jumper that is high neck and very thick black tights with black flat shoes," she wrote. "I don't think it was inappropriate at all, it's something I have worn to work previously and have never had anyone say anything negative about it at all."

The woman said there was "something about the phone call" and the use of the word "inappropriate" that made her "feel uneasy" in her "gut" about taking the job. She said she doesn't work in a "suit industry" and noted that her interviewer on the day was "wearing black leggings, leather boots and a long top."

The woman said when she tried to get the interviewer to expand on the feedback she was told: "Let's not get bogged down by that sort of thing, the good news is we are still happy to offer you the job."

The situation has left her wondering what she did wrong and whether she made a mistake in turning the offer down. "I've never been told I've dressed inappropriately for anything before," she wrote.

Yet, of the 258 messages responding to her post, the majority seemed to think she was right to exercise caution. Gwenneh commented: "You've just had a preview of the company culture...That would be enough to turn a job down for me. I've ignored red flags like that in the past and I've learned from them."

Another user, posting as Player20868, was inclined to agree. "Do you really want to work for an organization where you'll be criticized every day for what you're wearing, how you look etc?" they asked. "That saying about when someone shows you who they really are, pay attention, applies to companies and other organizations as well. Personally I'd run from this one."

FangsForTheMemory felt it was "extremely odd" for the company to provide this kind of feedback when offering someone a position. "I wouldn't take the job," they wrote. "I have had alarm bells ring at interviews before and the one time I took the job in spite of my misgivings, I was very sorry I did."

There were some who sided with the company. RoomOfRequirement felt her outfit didn't sound "interview appropriate." They said: "They clearly still want you so if you think the job would be good for you I wouldn't let it put me off! I think there's a difference in what I'd wear at an interview vs what I'd wear once in the position."

ExcaliburBaby thought her choice of attire was ultimately irrelevant and reminded the woman that applying for a job is very much a two-way street. "Don't forget an interview is the chance for you to learn about the company and your line manager," they said. To their way of thinking, the fact that the interviewer felt the need to talk about her "casual" outfit while offering her the job served as a "hint at their future management style" and made the role one best to avoid.

According to TopResume, while it is important to do your research, understand the company dress code and stay up to date with your choice of attire, it's equally important to ensure you are comfortable in your clothes.

Mark "M.A." Smith wrote: "comfort is important in interviews. Hiring managers can spot someone who is nervous and uncomfortable."

"When deciding what to wear to an interview, pick your clothes to help you win the job," he explained. "Your attire should compliment. Don't wear brand new clothes. Wear an outfit that is tried and true."

Job interviews have come under the microscope of late and nowhere is this truer than in the world of social media.

One man recently went viral after revealing how he has begun attending job interviews as a hobby with no intention of taking the roles on offer.

Meanwhile, an ad for a low-paid, low-ranking job has also been garnering attention thanks to the extensive list of requirements included as part of the online listing.

A woman at a job interview.
Stock image of a woman at a job interview. A woman was left feeling uneasy about taking a job after a comment made in a phone call. djiledesign/Getty

Correction 1/21/22, 12:10 p.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the name of TopResume.