WWYD – Interview: the Redux

So yesterday we talked about a situation where a person is called for an interview and advised by someone she knows to dress sexy to get the job. Everyone agreed that this was not something she should do, that she should be herself, have her eyes well open and hope she gets the job on her own merits and achievements. (For the record, I would never have followed this person’s advice. Either you hire me because I am right for the job, or forget it. I have already worked in the kind of environment where I had a boss that was a lecher – won’t ever do it again).

What if it were a different situation? Let’s say she was in divorce court against her ex-husband and the judge was known to be favourable to attractive women? Or it was a female judge partial to good looking men? Nothing that could be proven, obviously, otherwise s/he would no longer be on the bench. Would the idea of dressing normally still stand, or would you tell her to do whatever is in her power to win against her ex husband? If your opinion changes, please, explain why?

(Disclaimer: I am not in court against any one, however neither of these situations are hypothetical, they are all based on actual events that happened to me or to readers who have written in).

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  1. How good looking is the would-be ex? :) I’d advise the same thing I did yesterday, but try not to let the opponent win on looks alone. I wouldn’t dress “sexy,” but I’d go for “attractive and sympathetic.” If my attitude towards this is a bit different from yesterday’s, or there’s a tiny bit more hesitation in choosing “be yourself and win it on the merits,” it’s because we’re talking about a one-time, life-changing decision. (Of course, the intel could still be wrong, so the only real answer here is still “be yourself and win it on the merits.”) In the interview situation, you want the job to be a good fit for you, too – and it sounds dicey. In this one, your decision is already made – you’re just hoping for a favorable agreement from the judge, who you then do not have to see, day in and day out. Ever again, with any luck.

  2. batya from NJ says:

    I don’t think that I would try to look super sexy just to get a favorable result from the judge but I do think I would try to look presentable which I would presumably want to do in any event.

  3. shorty says:

    Dressing for the judge (or jury) happens all the time. How often does a criminal dress in a nice suit or an outfit to win some sympathy in some way?

    • There’s a certain amount of dignity and decorum expected in the courtroom. Dressing in a suit isn’t so much to gain sympathy as it is to maintain that atmosphere and to show respect for the venue. Everyone should dress well in a courtroom; it’s a sign of respect. Dressing sexy is over-the-top. Even if it’s effective with some judges.

  4. Z! says:

    Looking one’s best v.s. trying to look sexy are very different animals. One should always strive to look put together for important interviews/meetings. Like take today, for example. I will be meeting my parents this morning (very excited) and going out to dinner later with them with family friends. I put in the extra effort this morning to be clean, makeuped, dressed in a nice skirt (not a jean skirt) and hair instead of a hat).
    I find it hard to believe that dressing sexy for a judge would help them be sympathetic to your cause, especially if it’s a ‘child welfare case’.

  5. don’t be a sucker. it’s a competitive world out there and do whatever is necessary to suit your best interests. if it involves showing off your personal assests, then by all means do so (without of course violating the law or communal norms of decency).
    i w0uld, however, be very careful with regard to a job interview (as opposed to the court case you mentioned). if the judge or jury likes your legs and is favorable to you, great and you will probably never see the jury/judge again anyway. getting a job because you have nice legs can set you have for future problems.

  6. getting a job because you have nice legs can set you up for future problems

  7. chana says:

    i agree with abba and holly. they’re completely different situations. a judge’s decision is one time only hopefully( or not if you want an appeal, but even then…) and a job is everyday life. i think its ok to pretend or do something out of your comfort zone to get the ends you want for a one time imp;ortant event, but day in and day out? i wouldn’t. (for the interview)

  8. mrsmelissasg says:

    i stand by what i said yesterday. dress appropriately for the situation, but in a way which is consistent with how you dress and who you are. i think for all things in life, you should be prepared to be who you are. nothing wrong with being a more put-together version of that when the situation necessitates, but you are you and need to succeed in anything based on that.

  9. lady lock and load says:

    If you dress up sexy when you go to Sammy’s in Teaneck you get fifty percent off from your order and a free frozen yogurt. Just don’t tell them I told you!

    • batya from NJ says:

      Pretty funny LLL but don’t start rumors about Sammy’s especially since one of my closest friend’s husband owns the place! Besides, I hear they offer the same discount at Purple Pear so there’s no need to shlep :)!!!

      • lady lock and load says:

        and there’s an astronaut I know who will take you to Mars if ya show him a little leg. Us women have it so good in this world! “YAY”! :)

        • Helps to bat your eyes a bit when trying to merge onto a busy street, too. “Yay!”

          • HaSafran says:

            When I was in Israel, whenever I needed a “tremp” to J’lem, I would try to line up one of the university girls to go with, and if she flashed a bit of leg, we would always got a ride.

          • HaSafran says:

            In a similar vein (but for slightly different reasons), when I was at YU and going to walk to the train station in Wash. Heights, MTA kids who also needed to go to the train would find me and ask to walk with me.
            For some reason, the “locals” would hassle them on the way, but they noticed that I never got messed with by them. Maybe something to do with my baggy jeans, Raiders hat pulled down low, and the fact that I could answer in (Mexican though , not Dominican) Spanish.

          • batya from NJ says:

            Hasafran, & maybe also b/c you were older (& presumably bigger/taller) than they were so it just felt safer for them…

  10. kisarita says:

    I think the opposite: Dressing provocatively will make you much LESS likely to land a position of responsibility.
    and you’d be much more likely to leave a negative impression on the judge than a positive one.

  11. Just me says:

    I totally agree with you Hadassah. One should be hired based on their skills not their fashion sense. It must have been horrible what you had to go through. Did you say something? How many years did you have to go through that? Poor you…

    • HSaboMilner says:

      I suffered silently. I needed the money I was making, so I kept quiet. I can handle myself, and always told myself that if necessary I could aim a pointy shoe or a stilletto heel to make a point. Thankfully it wasn’t necessary and eventually I was able to move on to a different company.

  12. ERICA says:

    I still wonder where and when these situations occurred…
    I’m not saying that the type of harassment/sexism you describe doesn’t exist..but these days in the mainstream workplace awareness of gender bias and policies/training to combat sexual harassment are the norm. In the past 2 decades I’ve worked at a major high-tech company, several synagogues (small nonprofits) and a major urban teaching hospital, and in all of them, there was acute awareness of what constituted violation of policy. I can’t imagine a department head …or family court judge..both in very visible positions, getting away with the kind of subtle discrimination you describe over time. Perhaps in a small family business, but even small workplaces are subject to the law.

    Actually your description reminds me of the kind of “behaviors”
    I used to encounter when I was a young woman, growing up in Montreal in the 60′s and 70′s.

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