There are some pretty well-established social expectations about what is and isn't appropriate attire for a job interview.
There may be some gray areas, and exceptions made for folks who can't afford business clothes (they're applying for jobs for a reason, after all), but many of the people below just decided to throw the whole idea of business attire right out the window.
Reddit user u/JustARayOfPitchBlack asked:
Someone came in to interview at my job wearing a Levi's t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off, Daisy Dukes, and pink flip flops covered in pompoms. It was January in the UK. I don't understand why she wasn't blue with cold.
The look my manager gave me as she lead this woman to the interview room was amazing.
Not as bad as some of the others here, but it gave us a good laugh for a few days.
I had an interviewee for a entry-level, customer service position at a large company show to our interview 15 minutes late in Hello Kitty pajama bottoms, a matching backpack, a bright pink hoodie, and warm and fuzzy slippers.
I didn't even bother with the interview as she was late, but that has to be one of the most unprofessional attire I've seen in my hiring experience.
The other I recall was a young woman interviewing for a customer service position at the airline I was at in an extremely low cut blouse and short skirt, all in black. Mentioned something during the interview about how she hasn't smoked weed in a couple weeks and wanted to make sure we knew she wasn't high.
I actually got a job by showing up scruffy. At the time I'd been working construction trying to get back into office work. Saw a "now hiring" side and just wandered in and asked for an application. The person who handed me the application was nice and polite to my face. Then told another coworker "that guy has no chance, showing up like that". The other coworker was my cousin, who informed the HR manager, who called me to apologise and invited me for an interview. I didn't even know what had transpired until my cousin told me later, but I said oh no worries I was just passing through and obviously I'll be appropriately dressed if you hire me haha.
Made sure I was properly cleaned up and dressed appropriately for the interview. Got the job and ended up working there for 5 years. Had they not made some stupid remark I may not have even been considered.
Late to the party but...
I had a young guy come in one day who I think was clearly trying to NOT get the job. Like his dad gave him an ultimatum to get a job or get out type of thing and he was just going to interviews to appease him.
He had his hair in pigtails high on the sides of his head with wire threaded in them so they'd stick out.
Black t-shirt that said "F*CK' on it in giant white letters.
Plaid schoolgirl style skirt.
90's chunky club kid style shoes.
I honestly would've been fine if he'd worn a skirt and tights with a nice shirt to the interview. We actually had another male employee that wore skirts. He'd borrow my clothes all the time XD.
It was the "f*ck" shirt that did the guy in.
One time I was having dinner in a restaurant and saw a young woman come up to the counter and ask for a job application. The employees gave her one and she sat down near me to fill it out. This is when I noticed she was wearing a cap with a huge pot leaf on it.
She finished it, returned it to the counter, and asked what the follow up would be. The employee said "we'll contact you in a few days for an interview... and when you come back, don't wear that hat!"
Not an employer but when I applied for my city's EMS it was a pretty grueling interview process.
Showed up in a nice shirt, dress pants and a tie, guy who was interviewing with me showed up in ripped Jean's wearing chains and a white tshirt.
This was an interview with 3 senior paramedics and the medical director of the city, they told him to leave and come back when he was serious about it.
PJs she was pulled out of bed and brought to me and my boss for a interview she didn't know she was having.
After 5 minutes we offered her a job and she actually turned out really well.
I was working at a fast food restaurant as a assistant manager my boss and I were trying to find a new closer. A old friend of mine who I was out of touch with was looking for a new job so she could leave one she was at.I asked her brother to take a application to her and bring it back filled out with her. He woke her up had her fill it out and brought her to the store in her PJs. Me and my boss talked to her at the front counter about her experience in fast food. My boss and I exchanged a smile knowing we wanted her. My boss looked at her and asked how long she will need to give notice. My friend unsure everything explained she needed to know if she had the job and asked when she would sit for a interview. Almost in unison my boss and I said "you just had the interview" She started with us 2 weeks later.
My master's student came to defend his thesis bare footed because "his slippers got wet"
Edit: this was in Estonia
A pair of flesh colored leggings that made her look as if she wasn't pairing wearing pants at all, a sweatshirt that opened in the front, that had been pulled to the side a bit to reveal a lacy camisole top. We work as therapists. No f**king way she got that job.
For more info, both her wig and glasses were askew. There was an odor somewhere between human and cat urine. And about halfway through she asked if she could take a break because she left her car running to charge her phone.
He came in to the IT interview in polo, khakis and aqua colored Crocs with an anime maid blushing painted on one and lining up a sniper shot on the other. He was late because security was concerned about his mlp chain wallet.
A few years back, I had someone show up fresh out of the swimming pool. Hair wet. Bathing suit and cover up on. Still wet. Hadn't taken the time to dry off. I went through the interview and a test simulation of the job with her. She actually did very well at the simulation. When I took her to see my boss that made the ultimate decision, he took one look and said no. Didn't ask about the simulation or anything, just no.
EDIT: (1) Not a lifeguard position. It was for a small textile company that manufactures clean room supplies. (2) Boss was a complete jerk - I have numerous stories about why he did and didn't hire someone after I did initial interview/assessment.
A guy showed up in flip flops, cargo shorts and a tank top. Ended up being the best interview of the day by miles, ended up one of the best people I ever hired. I still don't recommend anyone do this, but it has worked.
Homecoming dress. She knew she was supposed to dress up for the interview, and that was the nicest thing she had. I felt so bad; she was incredibly embarrassed. It was her first real interview, and in the end I gave her credit for at least putting in the effort.
Edit: For everyone asking, yes, she did get a job offer. The attire didn't factor in nearly as much as her coming in prepared, on time, and with questions.
I saw one guy come from the country club pool in an american flag tank top and swim trunks to the clubs golf cart boy interview. He didn't get the job and then came back a week later in a full suit apologizing for his previous attire.
I worked in the US Senate a couple years back.
We were interviewing about half a dozen candidates for a pretty junior position. One of the interviewees was wearing a Harvard tee shirt, a Harvard jacket, and Harvard sweatpants. We were astounded.
The first question my coworker asked was "Did you go to Harvard?". The guy did, and he handled the rest of the interview surprisingly well. He didn't get the job but he did become a running joke in the office for a while.
Trying for a set bonus I guess.
I was the person! This was 20 years ago, and I had just moved to the city. I was 17 and spent 3 weeks working as a hostess at Denny's. A friend asked if I wanted to go rollerblading, so I was strapped into my roller blades and was wearing athletic wear. She then pulled up to her gym, had me walk in my roller blades up to the second story where the daycare was, and told me that I was interviewing for the Nanny job that she heard was available. I actually got the job because the woman who owned the gym was impressed that I could climb stairs in my roller blades!
Woo boy. The guy without pants. At my last job, I spent ~10 months in 2017 on a research team doing statistical learning research for health informatics. It's a very large healthcare company, and they basically took almost a dozen of their PhD researchers from BI, R&D, and Market Dev, temporarily reassigned them to the new Center For Data Excellence. Two of the PhD's were director/AVP-level, so they each got to bring a team member with them.
My director brought me from Market Dev because my background's in mathematical modeling, but the other guy didn't have anyone in his department who was free enough to bring along, so they posted the job and started interviewing. I'd do the pre-interview stuff with one of the junior PhDs, and then the senior team members who come in.
Anyway, four days into interviewing, we get one dude up on Skype for his interview, and he's way too close to the screen, like his laptop's up on his knees. We asked him to move the laptop back a bit, and he gives it up that he can't, because the lower part of his shirt has a huge, fresh coffee stain, and his pants are hanging on the adjacent wall. He'd lost track of time and rushed home, and he'd spilled his coffee in his hurry.
We told him, "no problem, we'll find a new time for you. The shirt might be a goner, but be sure to wash the pants in hot water right away."
We actually hired that dude, and I think he's still there. Great guy.
It wasn't so much of inappropriate clothing. It was more the action of uncrossing her legs very wide while wearing a short skirt. Meanwhile never taking her eyes off mine.
HR nightmare waiting to happen.
An extremely short dress.
But, I ended up hiring her because she had experience. Turned out she was pregnant, coming from school, and her husband had met her at the interview site so she could change clothes and that is what he had brought. She was so embarrassed, but did not have time to go home and change into something else.
She ended up being the best worker I had ever hired.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
I worked in a fairly business casual leaning towards real casual office at my last job and I interviewed and hired a lot of contractors. Had one college kid show up for an interview. He was wearing a space jam jersey which in my head I was like "heck yeah kid thats awesome" but the professional in me was like come on dude.
Hired him for a few projects and he ended up being one of the smartest, most hardworking and coolest dudes I ever worked with we became good friends. He's real successful to this day.