Does what you wear to a job interview really matter here in Singapore? Our Talent Manager has seen it all and tells it like it is…
Dressing for an interview can be quite tricky, especially if you’re used to seeing everything from comfy jeans, casual sandals to clubbing outfits and sneakers at Raffles Place during lunch hour. Even corporate types don’t seem to be very suit-centric in Singapore. But, no matter what city you’re working in, aside from an impressive resume, what you wear says a lot about you during the hiring process. Honeycombers’ very own Talent Manager Angela Neo knows a thing or two about first impressions in the corporate and creative scene, and shared her tips on what makes you look professional, confident and totally hirable.
It sounds boring, but stick to safe colours
DO: Wear white, black, navy and grey (aka office-appropriate shades). These colours are your best bet when choosing a colour palette for your outfit. It’s safer to opt for a classic look – think formal black dresses or suits – allowing you to “sell yourself” without distracting your interviewer. Even if you’re up for a creative role, don a monochromatic outfit when in doubt. This is leads the person on the other side of the table to want to know more about you.
But if you find this mundane and lacking in personality, do add a splash of colour to your outfit with bold accessories.
DON’T: What’s the limit when it comes to introducing colours? “You wouldn’t want to wear hot pink from head to toe!” says Angela.
Do you look the part?
DO: According to Angela, “You don’t have to show too much through your clothes unless the job demands it.” If you’re up for the position of a beauty writer, but you come bare-faced, your viability would come into question.
DON’T: But that doesn’t necessarily mean you come full-faced in club makeup. Leave your eyeshadows and bright lipsticks at home.
DO: Keep your tresses neat, tidy and classy.
DON’T: Funky hairdos such as a mohawk or unicorn-coloured hair are a big no-no for corporate interviews, but can be fun for creative ones. As for body art, we all know senior corporates with tattoos – keep yours covered for the interview. Likewise, remove visible piercings for the corporate firms.
What about your shoes?
DO: Wear something smart, that you’re comfortable with.
DON’T: We know that a pair of killer heels can elevate the simplest outfit, but there’s no point putting yourself at risk of tripping over, or suffering in silence when you’re not comfortable wearing them. Also, a pedicure helps if you’re planning to slip into a pair of open-toe shoes.
Research the company
Fake it ‘till you make it, right? When it comes to a corporate interview, a polished look goes a long way. Find out what the company is all about. Scroll through its website, and if you’re lucky, you might find a picture of the team. When in doubt, it’s best to take your lead from their look.
DO: Guys, it is a good idea to get your outfit tailored.
DON’T: It’s obvious when you’re wearing your dad’s blazer.
DO: If your office situation is more creative than corporate, and more open-space than stuffy cubicles, then you’ve got a little bit of freedom in terms of dressing. A stylish blazer, a pair of jeans and leather loafers can give you a cool casual yet professional look.
DON’T: Wear too many things at the same time. Sometimes, less is more.
Always ensure that your outfit fits the image of the company. Your potential employer might question your understanding of the company should you rock up to an interview for the position of a cafe barista in a full tailored suit. “Best to wear what you want to convey, allowing the interviewer to see and deem you fit for the team,” says Angela.
Plan your outfit
Perfecting the right outfit for that one interview takes time and planning. Angela advises that you try on your dress-to-impress ensemble a few days in advance to save yourself from any last minute scrambles if you don’t feel comfortable and confident.
But, above all, remember that your CV, your attitude and the way you present yourself are what ultimately matter.
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
Blaze of glory: Go from basic to boss in a stylish blazer
Head over heels: Shop the right type of heels for your feet
Nothing to loathe about these stylish and comfortable loafers
Suit up with these bespoke tailors for the gentlemen
Dress shoes in Singapore: The men’s edition