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The truth is, there is no one good answer to this question. Different business owners and HR professionals have their own opinions on the subject. If you happen to be applying for a position in the companies those business owners and HR professionals are connected with, then you should be following their advice rather than reading on. Otherwise, we can only guess at what your prospective employer is looking for.
In any case, we have a few tips for ensuring that you’re properly dressed for most job interviews in the Philippines.
1.) See if you can find the company’s employee handbook
If you’re lucky, you can sometimes find the employee dress codes online or get it from a friend. You should be able to find their idea of “acceptable attire” there.
2.) Ask the interviewer about the dress code
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. When setting the date for your initial interview with the interviewer, ask them if there is a dress code. They should be able to give you an idea of what to avoid wearing.
3.) Consider dressing up just before you get to the interview site
Despite the traffic outside our homes and workplaces, few Filipinos own their own car. Being a hot country, commuting can be uncomfortable and ruin your composure before you get to the interview site. In this case, you may want to consider leaving home early in comfortable clothes, freshening up and changing into your nice clothes at a convenient restroom just before your scheduled interview.
4.) Avoid wearing party clothes
The Philippines is quite a casually-dressed country. This means not all of us make the distinction between so-called “formal” attire that is meant for parties and nights out and interview-appropriate attire. Just because it has a collar or is a “little black dress”, it doesn’t mean that it’s professional. Some care has to be taken that the prints are not too loud and that the cuts are more classic and less contemporary.
5.) You don’t always need a tie or a dress
Most “what should I wear to a job interview” articles you’ll find online are written with an American or European perspective. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t own a nice suit or a Vogue magazine-inspired dress. Most interviewers are actually quite forgiving, so long as you can show that you truly care about the job in the way you dress.
Again, the Philippines is a tropical country, and those Western standards for job interview clothing only apply in a handful of companies, if any. Our traditional barong tagalog and baro’t saya are quite cool and airy to wear, reflecting this. There are also types of native modern office attire available that are not just affordable, but quite suited (if you mind the pun) for job interviews.
6.) Wear clean, classic leather shoes
Even in fields with a very dressed-down vibe, such as in BPOs, advertising companies, and engineering firms you still probably want to play it safe when it comes to footwear. Your shoes shouldn’t call attention to the rest of your outfit one way or another. This means you probably should leave the sneakers and tsinelas at home.
Ready to test these interview attire tips yourself? Use a Philippines job search website, like Mynimo.com. Mynimo is the country’s top local job search site. Its heavy emphasis of giving you the best local jobs sets it apart from the rest, ensuring that you’re able to grow your best career yet — wherever you need to be!