A recruiter is facing backlash after a post about dress codes for job interviews went viral

A recruiter is facing backlash after a post about dress codes for job interviews went viral
The TikTok about Oglivy's story has been viewed over 280,000 times.Pekic/Getty Images
  • A recruiter's LinkedIn post about a candidate's outfit to an interview was reuploaded to TikTok.
  • It sparked criticism as people thought she had decided not to hire them due to their clothes.

A recruiter has been criticized after a LinkedIn post saying some candidates had not been considered for jobs due in part to their outfit went viral on TikTok.

Louise Ogilvy, who runs a tech recruitment firm based in Salisbury, UK, wrote on May 20 that she'd recently had "a couple of candidates" whose appearance and outfits during video-call interviews had been one of the reasons why they hadn't been put forward to the next stage of the process. The post didn't clarify further, but Ogilvy told Insider it was the companies' internal interviewers who provided this feedback — her conversations with the candidates had been audio only.

The LinkedIn post went on to say, "Have we become too accustomed to working at home that we have forgotten that we are still 'working.' Would you have turned up to an office in a hoodie for an interview back in the days of face to face interviewing? Does it matter? Should it matter?"

Ogilvy posts on LinkedIn two to three times a week, she told Insider, so she didn't give much thought to this one, even when it began to receive a higher than average number of comments. Some appeared to be from users who appeared to believe it was Ogilvy who had made the decision not to continue with the candidate and criticized her as a result, calling her "out of touch."

Unbeknownst to Ogilvy, it was also spotted by Daniel Space, an HR consultant and TikToker based in New York. He took a screenshot of the post and uploaded it as part of a video in which he said Ogilvy was being "blasted" on LinkedIn because of it.


"There are a few people in support saying that an interview is still a business meeting and you should dress appropriately, but a lot of people are saying this is wildly out of touch. What do you think?" he asked in the video.

Space told Insider he thought Ogilvy's concern was valid and found the mixed responses on LinkedIn — where the post had 38 comments — fascinating, which is why he shared it on TikTok.

@dan_from_hr Thoughts? #Jobsearch #linkedin #jobsearchhelp #getpaid #hireme #openroles #gethiredjobsearchtips #jobsearchtiktok #danfromhr #danfromhrtiktok ♬ original sound - Dan.from.HR

The video has been viewed over 280,000 times, and received almost 2,000 comments, many of which appear to also mistakenly assume it was Ogilvy's choice to not hire the candidate.

Two top comments with over 1,500 likes each read, "She says she is a tech recruitment specialist. In tech casual dress code is the norm," and, "She is recruiting for startups, the candidates knows the industry she doesn't." Others referred to dress codes as "gatekeeping" and said they are a way for employers to exert power, and some argued that the perception of a hoodie as "unprofessional" is a bias rooted in racism and classism.

Ogilvy told Insider she was shocked and concerned when she saw how people were reacting to her post on TikTok. "The problem is that people skim-read something and assume they know," she said. "But the whole reason behind my post was, 'As a recruiter, should we be advising our candidates on what to wear or do we just let them work it out for themselves?'"


She said she doesn't care personally what a candidate wears to an interview, but that she wanted to hear from fellow recruiters about whether they had dealt with a similar issue.

Ogilvy told Insider that after the TikTok blew up, she saw comments from people saying they would never want to work with her as a result.

"When you work really, really hard to do the best that you can, you do take it quite personally and it's quite upsetting that people can actually make such a snap judgment on you just because they've interpreted something in the wrong way," she said, adding that she had created a TikTok account specifically in order to respond to some of the comments.

Space told Insider he used the term "blasted" in the TikTok because he was trying to keep it as short as possible, but that in hindsight he regrets the phrasing. "I've been clear on my video to not attack her," he said. "I want to ensure I don't condone or encourage any hostility to someone who was asking and presenting a legitimate situation for discussion."

Ogilvy said the ordeal has taught her "a great lesson," and that going forward she will be sure to more clearly explain the context surrounding her posts.


For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.