Dressed to Recruit

Goldman Sachs have updated their dress code and it’s made the national press. In itself it only matters to those who now need to decide what to wear to work, but it got me thinking in terms of recruitment and how they had already relaxed the dress code in their tech division to attract top talent.

This tells us a lot about recruitment and attracting people, changing attitudes to work and what we’re really looking for in a potential employer.  We’re choosing our employers taking into account factors such as organisational culture, more often reflected in dress codes.

Relaxing the dress code cost nothing to Goldman Sachs, but it has given them a selling point, allowing them to more successfully compete for staff.  It had already done so in their tech division where they were competing with the considerably more relaxed environments of tech firms.

Goldman Sachs have received significant publicity from this simple change. Many other organisations have done the same over the years and it hasn’t made the national press. Goldman Sachs knew the importance of this decision and that this information needs to be known for it to help recruitment.  Yet, despite us living in an era where we’re able to choose our employers, where we make decisions on where to work based on much more than the job title and salary, so many job adverts still give away so little about the company.

Dress codes are just one part of a culture we consider when we’re looking for work. There is no magic formula to what people are looking for, we’re all different, the culture that appeals to you might not appeal to me.  What Goldman Sachs have done with this dress code is allow their people to be individuals, they have recognised they can trust their employees to make their own decisions.

When a culture is less prescribed and allows individuals to make their own decisions, there may be a little bit of work needed throughout the recruitment and induction process to demonstrate expectations.  Particularly if there are occasions where “good judgement” is a bit more prescribed.  But actually, this should be part of recruitment and induction anyway. If you’re advertising a job and you want me to commit a significant part of my week to you; you need to tell me what it’s going to be like, what should I expect to experience during my time with you and what the company expects of me.

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