After months of aimlessly searching, you’ve finally landed your first professional job interview! Congratulations! But what are you going to wear?
Your mom’s advice of going full-on professional with a blazer, shirt, and tie might not fly in 2020. Trust me, I once made the interviewer uncomfortable by attending an interview in a blazer. Whilst she was casually dressed in a leather jacket and jeans. Which is why you’ll need to read on for more tips and tricks on how to dress appropriately for a job interview in Malaysia.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can win the heart of your prospective employer with your snazzy dress sense. Trust us, we're a manpower outsourcing agency in Malaysia, equipped with good advice. You’re in for a treat!
How to impress your prospective employer
The best way to impress your prospective employer with your snazzy dress sense is by: researching the type of culture within the organization. A casual, slightly laid back company with a lot of fresh, young faces (like BGC!) will most likely have employees sporting a more casual attire. Dressing according to the organization’s culture will inform the employer that you’ve actually done your research on the company. This might make them more likely to hire you.
When dressing for a professional interview, it’s important to remember:
The first impression you make with a prospective employer, is an important one.
Everyone’s idea of “business wear” differs. So research, research, research!
It is still better to be overdressed than underdressed.
What is a professional business attire?
Traditionally, a formal or business attire can be divided into two sets: business professional and business casual.
Ahh, the classic form of attire. Typically, when people think of business professional, they’re thinking of the traditional suit and tie you see corporate zombies wearing.
People typically dress in business professional attire when they’re working in industries like accounting and banking, finance, government, and even law. The key to looking good in a business professional outfit is to have it tailored according to your height.
Business professional for women
Amy Santiago, a classic overdresser!
When we think of business professionals, you’ll usually need to stick to several boring colours. Gray, black, and navy are great examples! Some more clothing options and tips and tricks for you are included below.
Safe clothing options include:
Button up shirts: A collared, button up shirt is one of your best and safest bet. Button up shirts are an ideal match for blazers. Additionally, you’ll want to remember to iron the shirts.
Skirts or suit bottoms: Of course with a professional top, you can’t pair it with a casual bottom. So, think suit and select a clean and neatly pressed pantsuit or pencil skirt to complete your outfit.
Office shoes: Whether you prefer flats, pumps, or heels. It’s best to choose a pair of shoes that have a low heel and are comfortable to wear. You wouldn’t want to be tripping over your own two feet right in front of your interviewers, right?
Keep the accessories minimal: Accessories can either make or break your whole outfit. It’s best to keep your statement pieces at home, away from your professional outfit. Some might say that it’s ok to wear minimalist jewellery pieces. But we think that the one and only accessory you’ll need is a good watch. Keep everything else away!
Business professional for men
Unlike women, men have fewer options when it comes to business professional outfits. However, unlike women, the unwritten rules dictate that it’s ok for men to dress in a variety of colours instead of the usual gray and black. Maroon, light blue, and even dark green are good colours to stick to.
Safe clothing options include:
Tailored suits: The perfect business professional suit is one that is tailored to fit you. Ideally, you’d want the suit jacket and bottoms to cuff right at your ankles and wrists. Stick with traditional colours such as black, grey, and navy blue. Lighter coloured suits are a rare sight and not usually considered business professional attire.
Ties and accessories: Solid coloured ties are a good match. You’d want to stick to conservative colours and patterns like stripes. Unfortunately, it’s best to keep your snazzy designed ties at home.
What is a business casual attire?
Less formal = more personality!
Business casual is a common stylistic choice for most employees who work in offices. It is also a common and an appropriate choice for most job seekers because it straddles the fine line between professional and casual. Unlike professional business, a business casual attire allows you to incorporate colours and fabrics like khaki.
Business casual for women
Drop the blazer and pantsuit! The ideal business casual for women attire will include a range of comfortable options such as pencil skirts, button down shirts, and jumpers. In addition, your wardrobe’s colour palette and choice of accessories and shoes can expand.
Business casual for men
On the other hand, men will have a larger choice of clothing staples to choose from. Bottoms like khakis, slacks, and trousers are good business casual options. Sneakerheads will be glad to hear that sneakers and lifestyle shoes are perfectly fine to wear for a business casual organization.
Ok, I get it but what is does a casual attire mean?
Casual attire usually refers to the everyday attire that you wear out to see your family and friends with. Of course, casual attire does not refer to every Malaysian’s favourite shorts and holey t-shirts though. This ain’t a pasar. Much like professional business attire, casual attires have two categories: casual and smart casual.
Have you seen how the cool kids who work at business startups dress like? That’s smart casual. With smart casual, both men and women have the option of wearing everyone’s favourite bottoms - jeans.
Business casual and smart casual are similar. The only difference is that smart casual attire allows employees to incorporate more trendy pieces. Although keep in mind that most offices with smart casual attire don’t allow for t-shirts with large graphic prints!
Here at BGC Malaysia, as a company with a majority of Millennial and Gen Z employees, we love smart casual! If you’re confused as to what smart casual means, just check out what our stylish consultants are wearing!
Are you a millennial or gen z job seeker in Malaysia? Check out these articles:
Plain ol’ casual
Like we mentioned, casual business wear is simply t-shirts, jeans, and open toed footwear. Although sandals are considered casual, try to stray away from it. Unlike smart casual, plain ol’ casual offices allows employees to wear graphic t-shirts. Just keep it tasteful. Cropped pants, khakis and tasteful shorts are also allowed in offices with casual attire.
Now that wasn’t so hard, wasn’t it? We hoped that we’ve helped you clear up some of the misconceptions and questions you might have with a professional job interview. Always remember that the hardest part about job hunting and even your professional career. You wouldn’t want to mess it up by dressing inappropriately.
What are some of the worst outfits you’ve seen or even worn for your professional job interview? Let us know in the comments section below!
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