Contrary to folklore and plots of Disney movies, gone are the days when people are judged on character over appearance. What you wear can make or break the monumental first impression interviewers get from you. Here are tips on how to avoid getting written off even before the interview starts—in 5 convenient categories. 

1. True Colours

Ditch bright, snazzy colours like orange, pink and yellow unless you’re auditioning for a Mentos commercial. Should you find classic black too funereal, opt for navy, grey or khaki suits. For the ladies, jazz up your skirt or pant suits with a statement accessory such as a necklace. Keep in mind that a job interview is more about sensibility than style. If you’re friends with someone in the fashion industry, you’d know those two don’t often come together.

2. Under the Weather

Dress appropriately for Singapore’s humid, sweltering weather. This means only putting on your suit jacket (and tie, for the guys) when you’ve arrived at the venue, and choosing lightweight fabrics like cotton over heavier ones such as tweed and corduroy. If it gets too hot to handle, splurge on a cab ride. You don’t want to meet your bosses for the first time with a sweaty forehead, wet patches on your shirt near the back and armpit areas, and an SMRT excuse slip explaining a train breakdown. 

3. Less is More

Tattoos, piercings, chains and fancy nails are curses from witches. Remove or hide them unless it is your intention to evoke negative feelings. Heavy make-up that cakes over your skin and creases when you smile like spandex should be avoided at all costs. Overpowering cologne or perfume places interviewers in mortal danger and your interviewers will surely look forward to your departure.

4. Bad Hair Day 

Neon-coloured, outrageous cuts that should belong only in the pages of fashion magazines scream more insanity than individuality. Gentlemen—stick to a neat, short hairstyle and a fresh shave. A sober Chris Evans is the perfect - though extremely rarefied - example. Ladies may tie their hair into a bun or ponytail to avoid looking unkempt if the length is too unruly. Note that a wild ’do is less mysterious than barbaric. 

5. Pride and Groom

The benefits of disciplined preening aren’t merely aesthetic. It also gives you much-needed confidence to face your superiors and impress them. Problem areas for both genders include eyebrows, nose and ear hairs, as well as stray strands on the chin. (I’m just listing the visibly obvious ones. Ask your spouse/partner for further elaboration.) Looking like Tarzan or his plain Jane will make you feel like a caveman too.

Here’s wishing you all the best for your job-seeking pursuits! For more tips and tricks on how to impress at an interview, click here.