Female Programmer Denied Job for "Unprofessional" Outfit

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Elizabeth Bentivegna

What constitutes appropriate attire for a job interview? And if a recruiter finds a job seeker's outfit unprofessional, what kind of comments are appropriate to make about their attire? These are questions posed and debated on Twitter, after a company declined to hire Elizabeth Bentivegna based on her "unprofessional and not put-together" attire.

A senior at Oberlin College in Ohio, Bentivegna was contacted in March by a recruiter regarding a programming job at OnShift, a Cleveland-based company that develops software to aid in senior living and long-term health care. Since she is not graduating until December, they arranged an interview for a summer internship.Bentivegna told The Daily Dot that she met with a female hiring manager and two male engineers at OnShift for the interview. She felt good about the whole process and positive about her chances. She liked the environment, got along with her interviewers, and correctly answered all of their programming questions.

After a few weeks of not hearing back, Bentivegna followed up with the recruiter, who told her that while they were impressed by her technical skills and personality, they were not going to hire her because she "'looked more like [she] was about to go clubbing than to an interview", "had a huge run in [her] tights", and she was late (Bentivegna says she told them she was running late ahead of time). Ultimately, the recruiter said that she looked "unprofessional and not put-together."

She took to Facebook to post an expletive-filled rant, which Alanna Bennett, one of her friends and a staff writer at Buzzfeed, tweeted:

Elizabeth Bentivegna additionally sent a photo of the outfit to The Daily Dot, which shows her wearing a black top with a cardigan over it, a red skirt, black opaque tights, and black boots.

Bennett's tweet sparked a fire on Twitter, with currently over 2,350 retweets and 1,395 favorites. The responses were heated and varied:

Clearly this is a topic some people have strong opinions on. In a perfect world, we would all be hired based solely on our qualifications and skills, but unfortunately, appearances and what you're wearing to a job interview matter. It can be hard to predict the perfect interview outfit, since it varies from company to company. Employees might wear jeans and t-shirts, but the company could expect job seekers to dress more conservatively for an interview. On the flip side, if you show up to an interview at an edgy or hip company dressed in a stiff suit, your interviewers might conclude that you don't fit in with the office culture.

Also had the recruiter ever actually been to a club? You don't wear cardigans to the club. You don't wear twee, Zooey Deschanel-esque, opaque black tights to the club. This is how you dress for the club:

Dancing Clubgoers    Subject 20s Activity Adults Only Asian Ethnicity Caucasian Cheerful Club Wear Clubbing Concert Hall Dance F
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