An inspiration to touch on this topic as I read an article from JobsCentral
It is incredibly sad that employers tend to focus on appearance, grooming and clothes before you even speak. I have heard of horror stories from friends and colleagues that some interviewers have already brushed them off without even listening on their capabilities and performance. The interviewers have already crossed their arms, pushed the chair backwards and muttered: "Speak" and the interview went on without a question from them. Nonethless, you know the outcome. They never got a call back from that employer.
Sad but true, I guess generally people are judgemental to a certain extent whether you like it or not. Perception can be pretty subjective too but all variable factors aside, what can we do to bag that job or even getting a decent pay increasement for the next job you are aiming for.
I am sharing my two cents worth especially relevant in Singapore before you brush this article aside as we are competing with lots of foreign talent since we are are an open competitive labour market.
Like you, I have similarly made mistakes thinking capabilities will be upmost importance since I have exceed my job performance from what was expected, things would be easier for me. It turned out to be a very grave mistake for me thus I have since learned and moved on.
First impression are incredibly important as it set the perception of a person of you from the start and the horrible thing is that it is and will be a lasting impression. It may take months and years to change perceived view of you or it may not change till the day you set foot on your grave.
Appearance - Grooming Yes, it is true that there are many articles which has shown that more beautiful and handsome people bag the job or get paid far higher than their peers. Yes, you can blame for your parents for life but there is nothing you can do about it unless you want to do a total make over eg: Plastic surgery, make-over or change your entire wardrobe. Face it, not many of us working professionals are rich enough to spurgle like that. That's why we are all working.
Clothes and DressingIt is not necessary to be dressed in branded designer goods from head to toe.
What commoners like me and you can do is to at least ensure clothes that are ironed and be dressed appropriately for the industry you are applying for.
It is better to be over-dressed than underdressed. What do I mean by that?
For LadiesYou can choose to be in a business suit with pants / skirts. Do ensure that shirt are tucked in neatly in place with the correct sizing. It is not professional to appear in a size too much and the cleavage button "popping" or a size too big as it makes a person look sloppy.
You can also choose to appear in structured shift dresses with length to the knee area. The dress has to cover the shoulders if you wish to have a professional office look.
No fanciful earrings and accessories. Keep that for a hot date!
Covered shoes and pumps are recommended. Peep-toes and wedges are not formal shoewear for the office.
For GuysIt has to be business suit with pants with tie. Shirt has to be totally buttoned up neatly tucked in.
Socks should be well fitting when you sit. Any exposure of your ankle is equalivent of a lady showing her cleavage.
Leave the fanciful ties or shimmery suits for other evening occassions.
Other pointers: Wear a subtle classic watch. It reflects composure and punctuality.
Colours which generally rarely go wrong: Neutrals like nude, grey and earthy colours. Black and White.
This applies to both Clothes and Make up.
Make-up and other Grooming tips:
Do put on some light day make up and use concealer (if necessary).
Do trim your brows to keep it neat with no stray brows.
Blot your face and touch up so it look clean and fresh.
Light, day make up with no vibrant splash of colours (unless you are in advertising or as such)
Leave falsies for evening date please.
Spray some floral or citrus perfume to lighten up your mood.
Do trim your brows. For guys, you can it trimmed to look neater and tidier. Avoid over-trimming or you will look feminie.
Go with a clean look - Shave your moustache and "sideburns" (unless you are in advertising or as such)
No nostrils hairs peeking out please.
Blot your face so it look clean and refreshed
Spray on some lightweight perfume eg Davidoff Coolwater
I hope the above information would help you to have a good headstart for your interviews.
May you be lucky. Happy job hunting =)