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"Suitable" Job Candidates

Job candidates' dress and grooming important to hiring CIOs.

In the late 1990s even staid insurance companies moved toward more relaxed modes of dress, but a recent study by RHI Consulting (Menlo Park, CA) shows that CIOs still expect job candidates to dress for success.

Asking "How important is a professional image, including attire and personal grooming, when interviewing candidates for IT positions within your department?" the survey found that 88 percent of respondents believed it was at least "somewhat important." Within the finance, insurance and real estate sectors, 94 percent said it was at least "somewhat important," 58 percent saying "very important."

That emphasis jibes with the view of John Madigan, vice president, The Hartford, who manages human resources concerns for The Hartford's IT organization. He expects candidates to demonstrate "the best they have to offer." Without previous knowledge of a candidate, an interviewer must rely on appearances, from which, he adds, "I guess you could draw conclusions about their attitudes."

However, Bill Rasmussen, vice president, IT, Liberty Northwest (Portland, OR), says "you've got to look further than the clothes." Candidates should not risk making the wrong impression by dressing casually, Rasmussen agrees, but he notes that "even if they come masquerading in a suit, they can still blow it!"

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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