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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hiatt holds fashion show to showcase business dress

Published: February 3, 2012
Section: News

The Hiatt Career Center joined with Lord & Taylor to host a fashion show with more than 100 students, alumni and industry professionals in Sherman Function Hall on Wednesday evening, emphasizing the impact of first impressions on employers.

“It takes only 30 seconds for a potential employer to develop a first impression,” Hiatt recruiting coordinator Angela Gugliotta explained in order to stress the impact of appearance on hiring practices.

As Gugliotta admits, “Appearance will not simply get you the job, it can have the opposite effect and act as a deterrent, preventing companies from hiring you despite impressive qualifications.”
When questioned as to the original purpose of the event, Gugliotta related her experiences witnessing countless students frequently arrive for interviews inappropriately dressed.

Hiatt’s Andrea Dine reflected on one particular experience in which a student was nearly denied employment due to their attire, stating, “Casual dress can cause anxiety on a company’s behalf for fears it may offend international clients.”

During the fashion show, student volunteers modeled the distinctions between business casual and business professional wear with clothes provided by Lord & Taylor. Following the runway presentation, representatives answered questions from the audience regarding the intricacies of appropriate clothing for interviews and other professional environments.

Leigh Keleher, assistant store manager of Lord & Taylor in Natick, offered insight regarding footwear, stating, “Fashionable leather boots are absolutely a don’t. This year, the trend is moving away from platform shoes and towards kitten heels for business wear.” Despite discrepancies in preferences regarding trendy versus conservative wear, Keleher insisted upon the importance of maintaining a “clean, polished and understated appearance.”

Following the conclusion of the runway portion of the event, students were offered the opportunity to network with Brandeis alumni.

Dine described the event as “a safe environment where students can learn to overcome their fears, stimulate proper introductions and graciously end conversations.” Although the night was intended as a means of practicing professional skills, Dine said, “Approximately 70 percent of students find a job through networking, whereas otherwise they may become lost in a black hole of qualified applicants.”

Furthermore, Hiatt stressed the importance of networking not only as tool to develop useful connections but also to discover whether an employer is suited to the applicant.

Comparing seeking employment to the process of applying to universities, Dine said that “it is crucial to the decision-making process to discover the culture of an organization or company.”