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Dressing for Interviews: How to Help, Not Hurt, Your Chances

No matter eloquent you are, or how detailed your resume is, your physical impression does matter when it comes to interviews. Here’s how to ace the first impression.

Your interviewer will study your appearance to determine how seriously to take the other parts of your presentation.

In general, a candidate dressed in a suit is going to make a much better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.

Here are some tips to hone your professional look.

First impressions matter

  • You should be as buttoned up as possible when you walk through the door to the interview room. Carry a handkerchief to get rid of that extra sweat or to wipe your hands. Wear a t-shirt under your dress shirt or blouse if you are likely to perspire.
  • Overdressing is fine; underdressing is not. Men should always come in the door wearing a tie. Ladies should invest in a presentable corporate dress or pants suit. Style is always good to have, but it is secondary to professionalism.
  • If you are wearing a blazer, always enter the interview space with the top two coat buttons fastened. Unbutton the coat only when you’ve been invited to take a seat.

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Be mindful of hygiene

  • You can invest in either cologne or perfume to bring a good scent through the door. However, you do not need to drown yourself in the fragrance. A dash of scent on the sides of the neck is usually more than enough.
  • Make sure that you shower before the interview. Trim your nails and style your hair in a professional and neat manner.
  • Brush your teeth after your last meal and before your interview. There is nothing worse than going in with food stuck in between your teeth!

Read More: 3 Steps to Creating an Elevator Pitch

Arrive early and prepare

  • There will always be a part of your outer appearance that you can tweak in the office bathroom before the interview. Make sure that you arrive early enough to be picture perfect. Half an hour before your interview should be enough time to do this.
  • You may want to bring an extra shirt, blouse or sweater in case you perspire through your dress shirt or blouse in Singapore’s humid weather.
  • Take special note of your shoes. You may have attracted some mud or dirt while walking into the office for the interview. Clean any excess crud off of your shoes in the bathroom before your interview.

Nothing wrong with a little style

  • You can employ a great personal style but make sure that you are not clashing with company culture. You can get a sense of a company’s culture through its Glassdoor profile.
  • Make sure that you are employing a professional style. You can buy a $300 pair of jeans that rival the expense of a professional pair of pants. However, the cost of your clothes has very little to do with how professional you look.
  • Style is an accent, not a statement. Keep your style markers small. It is better to have a loud pair of socks than a loud shirt or a loud blazer. When in doubt, solid colours are never bad. Match the colour of your belt and shoes.

This article is contributed by Randstad Singapore.

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