Fair enough! You're right in that we're leaving out a lot of details. For example: If the person in question was clearly not from around these parts, and looked interested in being here, I would definitely ask--because hey, maybe he comes from a place with different social norms for job interviews. Or if he was panting and clearly exhausted, I might ask, because hey--maybe he biked here at the last minute, and figured being late would be worse than being sweaty and dressed in inappropriate attire. Or maybe he's living out of his car right now and a sweaty shirt is all he has left. Or, what's even more likely--he'd probably clarify before I asked ("I know I'm dressed inappropriately, but..."), in which case the whole situation would dissolve harmlessly.Elvish Pillager wrote:And I don't think it's a fair interpretation, because by doing an interview for the job, they're much-more-explicitly communicating that they do care. So interpreting their clothing as "I don't care" is actually "Based on one single piece of evidence, I now believe that you're lying to my face". That doesn't seem fair, when there are lots of other plausible reasons you could assume, like "It's hot out and I care about the environment, so I bicycled to this interview instead of driving".
Or, if it really matters, you could ask.
I know I didn't clarify what I was imagining when I gave my hypothetical, and I beg your pardon for that; that's the problem with hypotheticals--they're sterile and leave out any context. Here's what I pictured in my brain when I wrote what I wrote:
Guy comes into the office with a sweat-stained shirt, drops down in the seat, folds his arms, and just stares at me.
My response to this would be: "Okay. You clearly don't want to be here. So... let's just not waste each other's time."
I don't think that's at all unfair, and I'm always open to clarification. I just don't feel a need to ask when the context makes the message very obvious. Unless the 'speaker' is completely out of touch with the type of language we're talking (and there are usually a wealth of verbal and nonverbal cues to indicate this), they're probably going to know when clarification is necessary ("I know this looks like Y, but it's actually X"). When I have every reason to believe you know the language and you know what you're saying, I'm going to take it at face value. I don't think communication is even possible if we do otherwise!
EDIT: And to be honest, I don't really care how you present yourself in an interview, except when your presentation is obviously intended to send a message. Then I care, because you're communicating, and I want to know what you're saying. Otherwise? It strikes me as irrelevant.