You get the job (or don't) within six seconds of walking into the interview. Lucy O'Brien asks six bosses how they'd react to an applicant in these outfits; Styling: Iona Kenrick Hair and make-up: Mary Balfe Model: Sarah Jackson Photographs: David Sandison

Peter Wilby,

the Independent on Sunday

Fine. I would probably give her a job. She looks brisk, efficient and keen. I would be quite impressed with her.

She looks too businesslike. I'd be worried she was after my job.

Too fashion-conscious. I'd suspect her of being more interested in her clothes than her job.

I'd question whether she would be adventurous enough, or bold enough as a reporter. She looks too conservative.

Certainly not! As a journalist your dress should be suitable for all occasions - you might have to go to a press conference in the morning and meet the Archbishop of Canterbury in the afternoon.

Someone with no dress sense at all. I wouldn't worry too much because journalists have no dress sense. But I would question whether this person has the remotest sense of what looks good.


Geoffrey Fallows,

Camden School for Girls

High heels don't make much sense in a school and a short skirt with tights is asking for trouble, quite frankly. Tights are desperately at risk of laddering or snagging on the desks.

Has all the virtues: flat shoes and a smart style that doesn't cry out. Just one hitch: these are expensive clothes. That's not the message a teacher wants to give (and most couldn't afford them).

This is provoking and showy - wonderfully a la mode in the appropriate environment, I'm sure, but not right for school. It looks like she's trying to make some sort of statement.

Overdressed for an interview, let alone the classroom. It's executive clothing, something industrial companies would no doubt swoon over. Staggeringly bright and colourful, but too smart for here.

Out of the question. This is positively provoking! The shortness of the skirt, the v-neck, the hairdo - all totally inappropriate. You wouldn't find a teacher dressed like that anywhere.

Perfect. She's taken a lot of trouble with her hair, she looks comfortable, the shoes are flat and the skirt is not provokingly short. I'd give her the job.


Adriani Nunn, Creative Director, Pauffley PRL Design

Fine. A lot of designers look like that, quite minimalist. Black and grey are very popular.

Yeah, no problems. She looks fine, smart, and the trousers are good. I prefer women to look comfortable in what they're wearing. A lot of women on the design side wear trousers.

She'd have to have the personality to carry this outfit off - it's interesting, outgoing, a bit Barbarella-ish. It makes a statement and wouldn't be out of place with our company.

Not very Nineties - more like a Seventies air hostess. I'm not sure what her design work would look like - probably not very exciting.

Very early Eighties, like something out of a Duran Duran video. And that green just doesn't work. And the cleavage! That's not something I'm used to seeing.

She looks very comfortable, which is a plus. I wouldn't rule her out, but she would have to wear something smarter for a client meeting.


Paul Conroy,

Virgin Records

A very nice suit. I'm not being chauvinistic about it, but men do read the sexual thing into a short skirt. She obviously thinks she's got good legs to dress like that - I like that confidence.

I like this a lot. It's kind of Girl Friday. Not that girls here have to come in awash with denim, but working in a record company is a roll-your-sleeves-up kind of job.

We have women here who dress like that - racy, bubbly, confident. It's moderne, and you can get away with that in a record company. She'd probably be a person in promotions or marketing.

Richard Branson would like this look. In fact, I'm sure she's served me a few drinks going over on the VS109. It's not a record company look at all - more Virgin Atlantic than Virgin Records!

Has her zip got stuck? I couldn't take anyone seriously looking like this, but a number of my colleagues would employ her immediately. It's very attractive but cleavage is not necessary.

I hate it. It's so unstylish, so cutesy, I'd ignore her. It looks like she's wearing her school uniform. It's difficult, because as men you look at how pretty women are rather than practicality.


Jane Ageros, Executive manager, Abbey National

She's smart, she's fashionable, I'd employ her.

Hmm, trousers. They're smart and elegant, all right, but trousers are still a tricky issue at work. Definitely not interview wear, anyway, though I hope I am broad-minded enough not to be put off totally.

Not right for the Abbey National, neither for the branches nor head office. I think the shinyness of it all shows a lack of judgement about the interview.

What a very smart, elegant young woman! She's clearly going places. You can't fault her outfit at all: neat hair, coordinated jewellery. And red! A good, assertive colour. She'd do very well.

The toe-nails, no tights, strappy sandals, cleaveage and generally punky look make this a complete no-no. I'm afraid wouldn't be impressed by her.

She looks very unnassertive. I'd probably give her the benefit of the doubt, but I'd worry that she isn't projecting herself as a dynamic, young executive of the future if she's dressing in this girlie way.


Angela McLuckie, Consultant, Guy's Hospital

This is the best of the lot. It's very smart and sensible, and the skirt wouldn't be too tight if you had to climb over beds to get to a patient.

I've no problem with a suit like this. Many female junior doctors do wear trousers. It's more practical and it's not frowned upon by enlightened members of the establishment.

Extremely practical, because you could wipe the PVC down easily if there was blood or vomit on it! The outfit is inappropriate, though, if you're dealing with bereaved or worried relatives.

If you were in a GP practice, a desk job, there would be no problems with this. It's conservative and wouldn't offend anyone. Hospital doctors, however, get their clothes in a mess, so it's too fussy.

This low-cut, unzipped top is not appropriate. It would detract from the seriousness of the job. Besides, it's not flattering and the shoes are too flimsy for walking round a hospital all day.

This is fairly conservative, boring and dull. If a junior doctor came to work wearing this, she wouldn't offend anyone. A good choice!