The rise of remote work has changed everything about the working world, and that includes how you should dress for job interviews.
The rules used to be pretty simple: You’d throw on your favorite business-casual outfit and head out the door. But now that employers use various video platforms to conduct interviews, you may need to rethink your Zoom interview attire.
What to wear for a virtual interview is not necessarily the same as what to wear for an in-person interview.
That’s not to say your outfit choices will always have to change, though. You’ll just need to think differently about how to present yourself on-camera versus the way you might have done so in an office.
How to Dress for a Zoom Interview
For some jobs, you may even decide to dress more casually than you would have in the past. First impressions still count, but remote-first workplaces (and even hybrid companies) often boast more casual environments, and you’ll want to demonstrate that you understand the company’s culture.
Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or are dressing for your first on-camera interview, we’ll guide you through your wardrobe choices to ensure you look polished and prepared.
Which Colors Look Best on a Zoom Interview?
In general, it’s best to avoid intense colors or shirts with graphics on them for virtual interviews. This is the first visual impression a potential employer will have of you, so you’ll want to keep it neat and neutral. Your best options are to stick to neutral colors like gray, white, black, navy blue, and tan for your interview.
However, you’ll also want to consider your interview background.
When selecting your wardrobe, think about the colors that will be behind you or the virtual background you may select on the video. For example, are you appearing in front of a white wall? Then you should avoid a mostly white outfit, or you risk blending into the background.
What Should a Woman Wear to a Video Interview?
You don’t have to conform to gender stereotypes during your interview, but if you have no idea where to start when creating your interview wardrobe, there are a few tips you can keep in mind.
- Suits with blazers are usually a safe and stylish choice, according to Zety. But don’t assume that any old blazer from the back of your closet will do the job—you’ll want to make sure that yours is well-fitting. Zety advises ensuring your blazer’s sleeves come to your wrists (instead of falling down on your hands).
- Want to wear something more feminine? A blouse or dress can be a fine choice, as long as it’s styled correctly. Avoid something you might wear to a wedding or party and lean toward business casual, which might mean adding a jacket to create a more dynamic look.
- Even though your interview is virtual, you’ll still want to wear something professional on the lower half of your body (after all, you never know when you might need to stand for a moment). But you don’t need to plan too excessively here—no need for the nicest pants you own (unless you want to wear those, of course).
- Use the same principles when thinking about makeup. You don’t have to wear makeup, of course, but if you’d like to add some color to your face, be careful not to go overboard. LiveAbout recommends avoiding cakey makeup or looks that might be better suited to an evening event.
- Want to add some jewelry? That’s also fine, but don’t go over the top with multiple necklaces, every finger having a ring on, etc. You don’t want the interviewers on your video call to be distracted.
What Should a Man Wear to a Video Interview?
- A suit is always a good choice for a man at a job interview, according to Pittsburg State University. Just make sure its components are pressed and neat for the big day. And, if the suit doesn’t quite fit as well as it used to, take it to a good tailor first.
- Feeling tie anxiety? Use the same rule that applies to women’s jewelry and makeup: It’s best to avoid going wild with patterns and colors. When in doubt, Pittsburg State University recommends, pairing a light-colored tie with a dark-colored suit. But if your potential employer is more casual, then you won’t need a tie. I have not worn a tie to an interview since 2010!
- Just like women, you’ll want to remember the bottom half of your body! Don’t assume you can get away with basketball shorts just because the interview is virtual—you never know when you’ll want to stand. A nice pair of khaki pants or jeans will do.
- Whether you like just a hint of stubble or a full-on beard, make sure you pay attention to facial hair when grooming too. There’s no need to shave everything off, but primp enough so that you look polished on the big day.
Should You Dress the Same for a Zoom Interview as In-Person?
You’ll want to research the company before deciding on the tone of your wardrobe. When in doubt, it’s best to lean more conservative (especially for professions like law or medicine). But sometimes, you might come across an employer that celebrates remote-work benefits like staying home in more comfortable clothing.
It’s no fun being the only person in a dress suit when your interviewers are wearing hoodies and T-shirts, so in that case, you might consider dressing down a bit.
I always opt for a plain long-sleeve button-up when regardless, as then I’m not too formal, but also not so relaxed that I’m in my relaxing weekend outfits.
The key difference to keep in mind between in-person and video is that remote interviews allow you to reveal yourself in only a tiny box on your screen.
So, consider what will be in that box: Check that the color you’re wearing stands out against the background, and ensure the top half of your outfit looks picture-perfect.
Do I Need to Wear a Suit for a Zoom Interview?
Suits are a safe option, but they’re not necessarily a hard requirement. If you’ve got one, great; if not, then it’s usually okay to look elsewhere in your wardrobe. And, if you’re interviewing somewhere with a relaxed culture, you may decide a suit isn’t the best choice anyway.
The key is to look professional and look good on Zoom, but unless you’re interviewing for an ultra-conservative industry, that doesn’t always require a suit.
Quick Tips to Prepare for a Zoom Interview
- Grooming: Neatness counts, so be sure your hair is freshly combed and that you don’t have food stuck in your teeth.
- Adjust lighting: Use natural light when possible, and invest in a good ring light to show off your best look.
- Adjust Zoom settings: Make sure your volume settings are exactly the way you need them before your interview begins.
- Check your webcam: You don’t want to be that person asking “Can you see me now?” Although, sometimes that is just a habit of a phrase to say.
- Check your microphone: You also don’t want to be the person who asks “Can you guys hear me? Hello?”
- Check your background: It’s time to clean up clutter (and put away anything that’s a little too personal). And you might want to consider your video background choice too. Do you want to blur it, pick a backdrop from Zoom or add your own, or just leave the camera in its natural state? Check out some video background options from Pexels.
- Ensure internet stability: Losing your connection halfway through your interview isn’t a surefire way to blow it, but let’s say it doesn’t leave the best impression.