In a rush? If your Zoom interview starts in 10 minutes and you can’t think what to wear, jump straight to our checklists on how to dress for a Zoom interview and how to look your best on Zoom. Good luck!
Not so long ago, the advice on what to wear for a job interview was pretty straight-forward: business formal. Black and blues, polished shoes and updos; you know the drill.
Even if you were interviewing at a workplace proud of their relaxed vibe and casual dress code, ‘business formal’ was unquestionably the safest bet for when you strolled into an office for the very first time.
With the deal done and contract signed, some of us ditched the necktie and skipped the heels – but up until that point, we dressed to impress. Putting in the effort meant signaling professionalism.
Then came you-know-what.
Today, in the remote workplace, dress etiquette for virtual job interviews has taken a strange turn. Are recruiters really supposed to believe you usually sit at home wearing a sleek suit? That level of effort now seems extravagant, and a little behind-the-times. Let’s face it: it feels downright weird to slip on a pencil skirt and smart shoes when you know only your top half will be visible.
As working-from-home becomes the new normal, we’re dressing more casually than ever. Standards are shifting, and the expectations on what we wear to a remote job interview are now far from obvious.
So what do you wear to a Zoom interview?
The answer is not your dressing gown. But it’s also not a suit. To make a lasting impression, you should reflect the company culture, strike a balance between casual and smart, and let some of your personal style shine through.
If you’re feeling confident and at ease, you’re far more likely to nail that job interview – which is why it’s good to wear clothes that are breathable and a comfortable fit. Iron your outfit if necessary, and check your appearance in your camera before your interview starts.
Looking great in a Zoom interview goes beyond your outfit, though. Optimal lighting, excellent camera positioning, and a tidy background will help you look professional (and gawjus!)
Here are our top tips on what to wear in a Zoom interview.
Dressing for a Zoom Job Interview Checklist
- Reflect company culture
- Wear pants
- Avoid busy patterns
- Wear something that feels ‘you’
- Clothes should be comfortable
- Get your hair under control
- Wear colors that don’t clash
- Tips for men
- Tips for women
Reflect the company culture and dress code
If you’re interviewing for a job at a young and creative agency that prides itself on being different, the recruiters will most likely see no issue with a candidate’s unique sense of style.
Companies that celebrate diversity and challenge norms may even encourage employees to express themselves in the way they dress.
So depending on where you’re interviewing at, it could work in your favour to flaunt colors, accessories, your cool tattoos, or your bright blue hair! A vibrant style may suggest you’re a strong cultural fit for a modern and bold workplace.
Then again, if you’re interviewing for a job at a more traditional company (like a corporation, with a dress code as old as the dinosaurs) then it’s much wiser to play it safe with neutral colors, shirts, cardigans, blazers – basically anything you’d see lawyers wearing in a critically acclaimed TV drama.
Wear pants. Please. We’re begging you to wear pants.
We realize recruiters are most likely not going to see your legs. But who knows? Your cat might knock a cup of coffee across your lap, or the fire alarm might sound when your neighbor burns their toast. Any number of things could happen during a virtual interview whereby you’d be required to calmly get out of your seat (with dignity!) and attend to the distraction. Be prepared. Wear pants.
Don’t forget that being fully dressed is going to make you feel more professional – which in turn will make you sound more professional. If you’re wearing nothing but Snoopy underpants on your lower half, you will channel that energy. Nobody is impressed by that energy.
Avoid busy patterns
Look, there’s nothing wrong with a fluorescently floral shirt. When you’re at a rave. And the year is 1991. And you’re a member of a prog rock band.
There’s also a lot to love about Hawaiian shirts, as most Dads will agree. We’re not hating on any particular fashion. Not even tie dye.
The problem is that crazy patterns and cameras do not make a good match. If your image is even remotely pixelated or flickering, your patterned clothes are going to be downright distracting. Don’t give recruiters a headache. When possible, opt for single-colored clothes without patterns.
Wear at least one item that feels ‘you’
If your typical home office outfit includes an AC/DC t-shirt and flip flops, then you’re most definitely going to be dressing up a little fancier for your remote job interview.
That being said, wearing something you personally love – like your comfiest pair of jeans, or your favorite earrings – can really boost your confidence. Wearing something you love also offers recruiters taste of your personality and style.
Your clothes should be comfortable
If everything goes well, you’ll be sitting in that interview for the better part of an hour. It’s important you’re comfortable.
Even if you feel like your amazing cardigan alone could land this job, if it’s a hot summer day then you should be wearing lighter fabrics. If your top is too tight beneath the arms, don’t wear it. Nobody needs sweat patches forming in real-time during an interview. Don’t do that to yourself.
If your shirt has an itchy label at neck, definitely don’t wear that – also, do something about that label. Life is too short for itchy labels.
Grooming isn’t just for pets
In being so focused on what to wear in a Zoom interview, you may forget how your beautiful head of hair also deserves some attention. Is it time for a trim? If you’re the kind of person whose hair slowly comes to resemble a bird’s nest throughout the day, it’s good to have a brush at hand before your interview begins.
What colors to wear for a Zoom interview
Red and green should never be seen, or so the saying goes. Whether or not you agree with that rule of fashion, there’s no doubt certain colors clash. If the wallpaper in your background is purple, think twice about the yellow shirt. More pleasing to the eye is a palette of complementary shades. Not sure how to pair colors? Real Simple have a guide on matching colors that is…well, real simple.
If you’re wondering what color shirt to wear in a Zoom interview, there’s simply no definite answer. Just be cautious of jarring colors that don’t contrast well, or look too bright in the camera. If in doubt, play it safe with soft, neutral colors like white and beige. (And again, ditch the patterns!)
What to wear to a Zoom interview if you’re female
You know one of the best things about living in this modern age? You no longer get locked up for failing to conform to gender stereotypes. There are truly no limitations as to what you can wear as a woman in a virtual interview! If you want to blow their minds with a necktie, then rock that Annie Hall look.
But if you’re looking for something more traditionally feminine, these wardrobe staples are typically considered appropriate for a Zoom interview setting:
- Pencil skirt
- Flared, bootcut, cuffed, or cropped trousers
Get inspired by these fashionable ladies…
What to wear to a Zoom interview if you’re male
We get it. In many job interviews, especially in tech, men are more likely to land an offer. Naturally you’ll want to leave recruiters in no doubt as to your maleness. You can stylishly pair privilege with any of these interview attire classics:
- Single-colored, long-sleeved shirt
- Classic, straight or slim cut chinos
- Blazer, ideally of matching color to trousers
- Slim fit jumper
- Your nicest belt
These guys woke up like this…
How to look better on Zoom
- Have a professional background
Skip the virtual Zoom background. We agree your Star Wars backdrop is cool, but for a virtual interview you’re going to want to show your real background. If it’s messy – clean it! Recruiters will appreciate a glimpse of your personal workspace, and a tidy backdrop will help send the right signal.
Blurring your background is acceptable, but recruiters will prefer seeing that you’re comfortable showing your natural background.
- Center your face in the middle
Framing is essential. Your face should be right in the middle of the camera view, shown at a good angle, which brings us to the next point.
- Position your camera at the right height and distance
Recruiters don’t want a close-up of your chin or forehead; your camera should be positioned flatly and precisely parallel to your face. This will help you look natural. If you need to raise the surface of your camera, position some books beneath it (just make sure the surface is steady).
- Play with lighting
Good lighting helps show your face in a flattering light. Ideally you’ll sit in front of, or next to, a bright window. Natural light is definitely your best bet, but if that’s in short supply then make sure your lamps are positioned in such a way that they don’t cast too many shadows across your face.
Some camera settings also allow you to naturally brighten your appearance. The most important thing is not to sit in front of a window. The bright light behind you will make you darker by contrast. You don’t want to look like an anonymous crime victim being interviewed in a documentary.
- Test beforehand!
Have a ‘practice call’ with a friend, or simply switch on your camera to check everything looks OK. Knowing that everything looks good before your interview will help you enter that Zoom call with confidence.
There’s a high likelihood recruiters will use a tool like tl;dv to record and share your interview. Taking some extra steps to look professional is well worth the effort. Follow the outfit, background and camera positioning tips in this guide, and you’ll be sure to impress at your next Zoom interview.
Best of luck!