Charlotte Richmond, Talent Manager at Aiimi, explains all about the two charities we’ve selected for our latest CSR initiative and why we’ll be running a Clothing Drive on 13th November.

I remember going to my first “real” interview after university. I didn’t own a suit and as I had only been working part time whilst studying, I couldn’t afford one. I managed to find a white shirt and a pair of black trousers and hoped for the best. But walking into an office and seeing everyone in their smart work attire, I felt like I stuck out. Immediately, I felt like I didn’t belong there, and this impacted my confidence for the interview itself.

As I have developed my career in internal recruitment and Talent Management, I have often had people ask me about the dress code for interviews. In most cases they are just doing their due diligence, checking what is expected of them for a specific role or company. However, there have been occasions where people have asked if they are required to wear a full suit as they don’t currently own one and lack the funds to buy one until they have a job. Having those conversations was tough. It feels like a bit of a chicken and egg situation. You need a suit to get hired, but you need to get hired to be able to afford the suit!

How can we help?

In my personal life, I have developed a passion for sustainable living over the last few years. I have always donated clothes that I no longer need and try to source pre-loved items for myself and my family wherever possible. Whilst doing this, I came across two organisations — Dress for Success - Greater London and Suited & Booted. These organisations take good-quality interview and work attire and rehome them to those in need. Most often, this means people who have come from situations of low income, vulnerability and ongoing unemployment.

Dress for Success GL are an affiliate of the US-based charity Dress for Success; they work to support women in London to thrive in work and life. As a wider charity, Dress for Success help women in 30 countries worldwide. Suited & Booted are based in the City of London and help men to succeed at interview and gain employment.

67% of Dress for Success GL clients go on to secure employment.

The work that these organisations do means that people can go into an interview feeling confident that they are dressed to succeed, that they suit the environment and that they stand a chance of gaining the employment they need. Although clothing makes a massive difference to confidence, it’s also vital to offer candidates the right help in preparing for the interview itself. Dress for Success and Suited & Booted don’t just dress people for the interview; they can also offer a candidate coaching, mentoring and advice on how to represent themselves and their skills during the interview process.

The Aiimi Clothing Drive – 13th November

So, what has all of this got to do with Aiimi? As a company, we do a lot of work with organisations like St Mungo’s, a UK charity who work to prevent homelessness and help individuals on their journey to recover from homelessness. As part of our work with the St Mungo’s recovery college, we have been supporting people in their job search. We wanted to take this a step further and find new ways to assist those who are trying to get back into work. This is why we’ve decided to hold a Clothing Drive in our London office building (68 Vintners Place, Upper Thames Street) and ask everyone to donate an item (or more if possible!) to support the work that Dress for Success and Suited & Booted are doing. In particular, we’d love to see donations of shoes, belts, ties, cuff links and any other often overlooked items that form a complete interview wardrobe.

I can’t wait to see the outfits and donations we can gather as a collective office building on Wednesday 13th November. I’ll be back on the blog then to update you on what we’ve collected and the impact that this will make for candidates!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more about the work of any of the charities I’ve spoken about here and how you can get involved as an individual or company, please take a look at their websites: