Tips on Dressing for a Singaporean Job Interview

“What do I wear?” is the question many people would ask while getting ready for a job interview.

A good question to ask, as arguably what you wear will portray the kind of person you are and how serious you will be on the job. These play a vital role in dictating the final outcome of the interview. As Singaporeans, we are often afraid of overdressing in this conservative culture of ours, and many times end up leaving 0 impression upon the people we meet.

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In most situations, the interviewer can use your dressing as a way to gauge your social awareness and discipline. They won’t be able to tell how good you are in your technical, on-the-job skills, but your dressing definitely shows how in tuned you are with culture, setting and social etiquette. These soft skills are extremely important in customer facing roles or top level management where your job entails meeting with C-suites from other companies. You’re basically going to be the face of your company. And they won’t want a bad face.

 

Fret not. You don’t need to look perfect but try as much as possible not to wear something that will slack off your appearance. Of course, the role and company culture play a part in this too. Please don’t wear a formal suit if you’re going for an interview in a tech startup or role which is centred on creativity and innovation. It’s an open secret that corporates are horrible at innovation.

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Putting more thought into your appearance is one of the easiest ways to improve your social respects and the way people see you. Good grades do not make you the best candidate when it comes to interviews. As those of us who’ve been in business or the corporate world long enough will know, the soft skills/people skills get you far, FAR higher than technical knowledge will. Often times, your physical appearance and presentation skills is good enough to make you the first choice in an interview.

 

Suits

Black suits for men are inappropriate for business; it looks more social than for business. Although the power conveys power and confidence, you’d want to avoid wearing it to interviews and business meetings. Stick to charcoal, grey or blue. These colors are less serious yet still formal enough to do business in. And of course, if you’re going to wear an ill-fitting jacket, it’s better not to wear one at all.

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Be in control of what you wear, so you will not start passing out wrong messages to the interviewer’s. The top button must be fastened when standing, with the best time to unbutton being when you sit. The second button should never be fastened.

Shirts

Wear only long sleeve, with a white shirt and a straight point collar. Don’t ever wear a short sleeve shirts with a tie to an interview. Shirt material also plays a big part. Generally, smooth, plain and shiny shirts are more formal, whereas rough, patterned and matt-looking shirts are mroe perfect for a Google/Facebook office interview.

One of the rules that govern what you wear for a business interview states you should wear a minimum of one pattern and two solids.

Ties

For the best choice in picking a tie, refrain from choosing pink or yellow. Burgundy will add more value to your look. Patterns on ties should be limited to three, so it will not look clumsy and unprofessional. A solid tie can be worn by anyone without prior knowledge of pattern mixing and matching.

 

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The tie ought to be long enough to reach your belt buckle, and don’t forget the all-important dimple! (the indentation under the knot.)

However, in general, ties are not required in Singapore unless you’re interviewing at a very corporate MNC or a high-level position in a global firm.

Socks

Wear socks that blend with your outfit and to prevent your skin from showing when you sit or cross your legs. Your trousers need to be long enough to cover your socks below the end.

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Belts

Only leather belts with small and silent buckles. Keep it simple. Leave the giant Hermes and Gucci logos at home. No one ever got hired because they had a huge H on their buckle. But there ARE cases of people getting rejected solely because of that. Remember, the interviewer is using your dressing to gauge your social skills. Loud designer stuff scream “new rich”. While the look you want to present is “sophisticated and cultured”.

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Shoes

Go for black, brown or cordovan classic lace-ups, shined, and in decent shape. This is one of the most important fashion factors that will bring out the solidness in your look.

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From the look  of your shoes alone, a trained eye is able to tell:

Your appreciation for value over price — Good men’s shoes might cost more, but are also far more value for money in the long term. Try Allen Edmonds, Church’s, Crockett & Jones, A.Testoni.

Your discipline and attention to details – A man who doesn’t even bother to shine his shoes for an interview will obviously not be disciplined enough to do many other small details required to win a big prize.

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Need help getting the RIGHT interview clothes? Contact us now.

by graziaa

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