Do the dress code rules apply when you’re an interim?

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Some time ago, someone asked me via Instagram, whether as an interim, they should also adhere to the company’s dress code. An interesting question that I have not yet written about. Time to dive into this …

Do the dress code rules apply when you’re an interim?



For those who have never heard of the term “interim”, I will briefly explain what this means. An “interim” is someone who companies hire to fill a temporary position. Companies often do this until they can find a suitable permanent employee.

Because the readers’ question is about the position of an interim manager, I will use that term for this article. But the article applies to all temporary employees in the broad sense of the word. Think self-employed, temporary workers, or freelancers.


Do the dress code rules apply when you’re an interim?

My experience from my previous workplace was that external employees who fulfilled a position as an interim usually looked very presentable. And according to HR expert Ilse Verweij, that is no accident.

“I worked for a while as an interim at various companies. In those positions, I was the business card for my employer, the agency that seconded me. But I was also the client’s business card, the company where I worked. ”

Verweij now works in HR for a company that focuses on emergency services, where temporary workers are regularly recruited. These employees must wear functional work clothing and it is also important that you wear the same as the internal employees.

“We try to have our temporary employees wear our work clothes as much as possible. You do this because people are the business card, and also when you look at the law, you are legally obliged to do so. Not so much to get everyone to wear the same clothes, but to offer the right protective equipment. Temporary employees have the same rights and obligations as permanent employees in terms of wages and circumstances.

When it is not possible, for example, when people hired on an ad hoc basis. Employees can wear trousers provided by the employment agency. That’s okay too, as long as people can work safely. “


Red Sneaker Effect

It should be clear: as an interim, it is vital to adapt your clothing to the company where you work. In a recent interview with security and hospitality lecturer Jack Stolting, he pointed out that in some environments it can even cost you clients if you don’t look presentable.

The so-called “Red Sneaker Effect” also plays an important role. This American study has shown that people with a different clothing style can get away with it in certain situations. Or that this can even work to your advantage because people respect this.

But it only applies to someone who is established within the industry or organization. And if you temporarily fulfill a position as an outsider, this is not the case.

In short: have you been hired as an external employee? Try to stick to the company’s dress code as much as possible. That is the best option for all parties involved.



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