What to Wear for a Zoom Interview

Posted on January 06 2021

Let’s face it: Zoom job interviews are tough. Between pixelated screens, lag in sound, and the inability to engage in workplace norms, like shaking hands and maintaining eye contact, much can get lost in translation. This makes how you present yourself to future employers even more important, especially since video interviews will be the norm for the foreseeable future. 


What you wear for a Zoom interview is crucial. Not only are you introducing yourself to someone you’re hoping will hire you, you’re also making a statement about who you are as a person. You might not be meeting a manager face-to-face, but you still need to dress for the job you want — and look sharp. 


Here are some tips on what to wear for a Zoom interview.


Dress the part and be selective with your top 

One benefit of Zoom job interviews is that future employers can only see your top half, meaning they won’t know if you’re rocking a pair of slippers instead of heels. Still, wearing a full professional outfit can help you get in the right mindset. There’s research that shows workplace attire can have a positive effect on employees’ self‐perception. When you look good, you feel good, and confidence translates on-screen. 


Now, let’s talk about your top. Because video conferencing calls only show you from the waist up, be selective with your top and accessories. We love classic workwear like collared button-down blouses or fun takes on turtlenecks. Timeless colours like navy, red and olive are good bases for accessories and look professional. 

 

 

While you might be tempted to sport your favourite polka dot shirt, it’s best to wear solid colours and avoid small patterns and stripes; they don’t always look great on the screen. And don’t forget about wearing a proper-fitting bra! Incredible tops can look lumpy when you don’t rock the right undergarments. 


When it comes to accessorizing, avoid any jewelry that makes noise when you move, like layered bangles or bracelets. This is very distracting in real life, but also on screen when your computer mic can pick up any noise. You want your accessories to go with your outfit, not overpower it. 


Match the formality of the job you’re applying to 


Interviewing for a job over Zoom is not a free pass to look casual — unless the job calls for it. The general rule is to dress in a way that reflects the businesses’ dress code, and how you would if you were interviewing in-person


If you’re interviewing at a law firm, you might want to throw on a blazer over a solid-colour dress. For an art gallery job, the dress code may be more creative and laid-back, or call for chic details, like ruffles or pleats. Research the company ahead of your interview and scan their website; what are people wearing in their headshots? It’s better to look slightly overdressed than underdressed when interviewing for a job.


Jennifer Dress Navy

 

Clear your interview space


You want to avoid any distracting backgrounds when you’re interviewing for a job on Zoom, so try to set up your computer in a space that has good lighting, is quiet, and isn’t too personal (like your bedroom; do not interview from your bed). Your background can show your personality, as with a nicely curated bookshelf, but it shouldn’t overpower you. Busy backgrounds are bad, tidy ones are good. 


If you live with others, be sure to let them know that you have a job interview and you’ll need a distraction-free space for an hour or so. Turn your phone on silent, keep the dog locked out of the room, and shut any windows to avoid the sound of cars passing by. 


Test your video quality and play with framing


Before your Zoom interview, run through a test to make sure your video settings are right and to also get a sense of what you look like on screen. Framing is very important, so make sure you adjust your computer’s camera so that you appear clearly centered on the screen. Your top half and head should be inside the frame and not cut off. Also avoid any unflattering angles, like up-the-nose shots. 


Lighting is key. Depending on the time of your Zoom interview, you might need to turn on additional lights or bring in lamps. You don’t want to be shadowed or hard-to-see. Good lighting is also important as it helps show off your outfit and properly conveys colours on-screen. 


Which brings us to the next point: you should wear your interview outfit during your test Zoom call. That way, you will see what it looks like on screen and whether or not it clashes with your background. If you’re wearing a grey button-up blouse and your walls are grey, you run the risk of getting washed out. You want your shirt to stand out on screen and “pop” in a natural way. 


A test call also lets you see how your hair and/or makeup looks. Sometimes, a stylish updo doesn’t look as great on the computer as it does in real life. You might learn that wearing your hair down with a bold lip looks sharper on Zoom than a nude lipstick. Play with different combinations to find out what makes you feel best.


Bottom line

Interviewing for a job can be a nerve-wracking experience. Add Zoom into the mix, and it’s normal to feel slightly overwhelmed. But, with preparation and a professional outfit that makes you feel confident, you’ll be ready to land the job — on-screen or otherwise.

 

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