Do you have an upcoming Zoom interview? As with any interview, dressing well will help you make an excellent first impression and improve your chances of landing the job.
However, choosing how to dress for a Zoom interview can be tricky. It’s probably best to dress professionally, but how much is too much for a video interview that you don’t need to leave the house for?
As a general rule of thumb, it’s better to overdress for an interview than to underdress, and a Zoom interview is no different. At the same time, there are certain things you want to avoid, as they look better in person than they do on camera.
Here is the complete guide for selecting what to wear for your Zoom interview.
Just because your interview is online, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress nicely. Yes, the interviewer knows you’re probably at home, but if you show up looking like you couldn’t bother to prepare for the interview, you’ll make a poor first impression.
Here are some critical tips for choosing what to wear for your Zoom interview.
Always dress professionally for your interview. It doesn’t matter whether the interview is for a remote position or whether you’ll have to show up in person once they accept you for the job.
First impressions matter most. If you look well-groomed and professional, you will appear more serious.
Dressing professionally shows that you care about the job and that you’re taking it seriously. It’s not an afterthought – a job you don’t really care for but didn’t mind interviewing for since you didn’t have to leave the house, and it required little effort to attend.
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Just how professional should you dress? That depends entirely on the position you are interviewing for and the company culture of the workplace.
If you are interviewing for a very high-level position, you’ll need to dress up nicely. Be as professional as possible – a suit and tie would be appropriate.
On the other hand, if you are interviewing for a blue-collar job, wearing a suit and tie wouldn’t be inappropriate. Again, it’s better to overdress than underdress, but within reason.
The company culture matters as well. If it’s a more casual company that encourages a more relaxed workplace environment, you don’t need to dress up as much.
On the other hand, if it’s a very professional company that has high standards and requires all employees to dress professionally at all times, you should definitely dress up.
Not all companies have a dress code. However, if HR gave you a dress code before your interview, make sure to follow it to the letter.
You may also ask if there is a company dress code before your interview, even if none was provided.
During the video interview, the interviewer can only see a part of you – your face and part of your upper body. You should try to avoid wearing anything distracting.
That might include a hat or scarf, for example, or it could be something flashy like an attractive chain necklace. There shouldn’t be anything distracting the interviewer from what you are saying and talking about, and it should not appear as if you are trying to be extravagant or extraordinary.
If you are wearing earrings or a bracelet that jingles and makes noise, that’s even worse.
Similarly, choose simple colors for your Zoom interview. A shirt with intricate patterns or colors can be distracting, so it’s better to go with solids or simple stripes or patterns.
Color psychology refers to how humans process and perceive different colors. As an example, police in many countries (such as the United States) wear blue uniforms because blue provides a feeling of security and safety.
Private security guards in many companies wear blue as well.
Bright red, on the other hand, is a tantalizing and flirty color. It could also signify danger and put people on alert – that’s why stop signs are red.
After all, fire is red, and fire signifies danger and pain. Yellow is another color of fire, and many warning signs are yellow as well.
So, what are the best colors for a Zoom interview? In general, you want to stick to neutral colors, such as white, gray, beige, blue, light blue, and navy blue.
Those colors are neutral because they don’t make any flashy statements. They’re not signifying passion or danger like red, nor are they too cheery or bright like yellow.
Instead, they signify security, professionality, authority, trustworthiness, and intelligence.
Black is also a very neutral color, but you may want to avoid it for Zoom interviews. The reason for that is that video cameras can’t always capture the intricacies, creases, and folds of black blouses and shirts, and you will appear as a black blob instead.
That’s especially true if you have a light background, such as a white wall behind you. If you wear all black, it will make it appear as if your head is floating.
On the other hand, wearing a white or light blue shirt with a black suit isn’t bad.
The other thing you have to worry about is wearing white colors with a white background. That can make you appear faded.
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Your clothes are not the only things that make you look more professional. Grooming will make you look more put together, and it will also help you feel more confident in yourself.
If you are a woman, choose a hairstyle that makes you look professional or at least well put together, whether you have long or short hair.
If you are a man, it’s best to cut your hair for the job interview. If you have long hair, you might want to put it in a bun to look more professional, but there is still a stigma around long hair in the professional sphere, and many employees will consider you less professional for having it.
Go to the barber a few days before your interview. Not only should you get a nice haircut, but it’s crucial to get a nice shave or beard trim as well.
Hair is not all there is to grooming, either. Cut your nails before your interview or get a manicure – your interviewee may notice.
Wash your face and use a moisturizer to treat cracked or dry skin.
Also Read: How To Respond To An Interview Request?
Putting on makeup can make you look more energetic, lively, and put together. For example, you can use makeup to hide those pesky bags under your eyes.
There’s a lot you can do with makeup other than hiding acne and other imperfections. Makeup can make you feel more confident during the interview, which will affect the way you answer questions and interact with the interviewer.
Don’t go overboard, though. Putting on makeup can show that you put effort into looking nice for the interview, but putting on too much makeup can be distracting.
I always recommend fully dressing for a Zoom interview. That means wearing a lovely skirt or dress pants.
Of course, your interviewer won’t see you, but that doesn’t mean you should wear pajamas. Dressing well will help you feel more confident, and it will put you in the right mood and state of mind for a professional interview.
For the same reason, wear nice shoes. Being barefoot can be a big distraction when trying to be professional and put together.
You might even put on some perfume or apply cologne or beard balm. Smelling nice can boost your confidence.
Besides, there may be a slight chance that you will have to stand up and get a document from your filing cabinet, so it’s best to be prepared for such situations.
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Accessories can help you look more presentable. For example, I always recommend wearing a watch to your interview, even if it’s a simple digital watch that doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Wearing a watch shows that you value time. It gives the impression that you respect other people’s time and always have a plan for the day.
Wearing a nice pair of glasses can also help.
Putting on a simple necklace or bracelet might also be advisable. On the other hand, wearing a nose ring might be something you want to avoid – the same goes for wearing a very expensive or flashy necklace.
A flashy or distracting pin on your shirt is also something that is unnecessary, as are very expensive cufflinks.
Again, it all depends on the type of position you are interviewing for, so exercise your own discretion.
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When people think of what to wear for a Zoom interview, they often think about clothing. However, clothing isn’t the only thing that matters.
Factors such as the lighting and the background make a huge difference as well. As I already alluded to, your background can work together with your clothing to make you look more presentable, and the same goes for lighting and other factors.
Your background must look professional as well. If you have a home office, that’s best – depending on the job, you can hang framed qualifications, certifications, or degrees on the wall behind you.
Similarly, if you are interviewing for a position in a band or as a music teacher, having a piano or guitar in the background can help.
Simple off-white is best. If you have red walls, for example, or a distracting background, you might want to consider using a virtual Zoom background.
An example of a distracting background would be if the only place you could have the interview is in your kitchen or bedroom, and the walls are not well painted, and there is no corner that would make it look like you were in a home office.
Good lighting is critical. If you have bad lighting, it can ruin the video quality, leading to a dark, grainy video that makes it hard for the interviewer to see you.
On the other hand, extremely bright artificial lights can make you look washed out, so they’re not good either.
Natural light is always best. If you can face a window that has natural light, it will make you look vibrant and energetic.
At the same time, you might not want the sun to shine directly on your face, as it can highlight imperfections and create shadows under your eyes.
Of course, natural sunlight isn’t always an option, especially if you have a Zoom interview during the evening or your apartment simply doesn’t get a lot of natural sunlight. Installing brighter light bulbs can help, but you can also experiment with ring lights, commonly used in photography.
A ring light is a circular light that is designed to light up your face. Ring lights, which you can buy on Amazon, frequently have different brightness settings, allowing you to experiment and find a setting that makes you look the most flattering.
If you don’t have a ring light, test out different spots in your house with your webcam until you find one that has good lighting.
You can also use reading lamps to give you more light, especially at night. I recommend using two lamps on either side of you.
Put the lamps a few feet away from your webcam, one on each side. They should be slightly above the webcam to provide the best effect.
If you can, buy daylight bulbs. Daylight bulbs are special bulbs that aim to mimic natural light.
They have high color temperatures that imitate sunlight, and you can use them in your lamps or even in your regular light fixtures if your apartment has no or few windows.
If your laptop’s built-in webcam has a low video quality, invest in a higher-quality external webcam. Note that the maximum video quality on Zoom is 1080p.
In other words, while a good webcam is essential, you don’t need to get a costly one that offers 4k video quality. There’s no point in that.
However, a high-quality webcam will still ensure the color and lighting are on point.
You also need a quality microphone, so your voice comes out crisp and clear. Low-quality microphones – the types you can get on eBay or Amazon for less than $10 – might have low audio quality.
So many people don’t know how to properly position their webcams during video interviews.
If you position your webcam below you, facing up, it will show your chin, neckbeard hair, and nose hair. It’s a very unflattering angle, especially if you have a double chin!
Instead, you’ll want your webcam positioned directly in front of you or slightly above you and angled downwards. Just above eye level is good; it shouldn’t be above your hairline, though, as that is too high up and will prevent you from making good eye contact.
If you don’t have an external webcam, use some books or a laptop stand to position your laptop’s built-in webcam slightly above eye level. Bending your laptop towards you might help.
You can also use books to help position your webcam correctly.
What if you only have a phone? You might use a phone stand and stand or sit in front of the camera at a flattering angle, or you might simply practice holding it in a good position.
A good rule of thumb is to keep the webcam around two feet in front of you. If you are too close to the webcam, you won’t look good; if you are too far, the interviewer won’t be able to see you, and they may have trouble hearing you.
You are probably aware of how important eye contact is when attending an interview. However, it’s also essential when attending a Zoom interview.
The trick is not to make the mistake most people make, which is looking at the screen displaying the video interview. To imitate in-person eye contact, you want to look at the webcam instead (that’s why it should be directly in front of you or slightly above eye level).
That will give the impression that you are looking directly at the interview, displaying confidence.
However, staring directly into the webcam at all times can make you look a little creepy. As with in-person eye contact, you don’t want to stare directly into someone’s eyes and never avert your gaze.
Averting your gaze from time to time shows that you have social skills and respect for the interviewer. From time to time, look away from the webcam towards the screen, the window, or anywhere else.
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Similarly, it’s vital to maintain a good posture during your interview. Some people prefer to use standing desks, but if you are sitting, keep your back straight, your chest up, and your shoulders back.
It’s also a good idea to get a good chair that helps you maintain good posture. Besides, if you have a desk chair instead of a regular kitchen chair, it will make a better impression on your interviewer.
Having good bandwidth is also essential for video quality. Check Zoom’s bandwidth requirements to ensure you have sufficient bandwidth, but keep in mind that those requirements are only the minimum.
If your internet is too slow or experiences lagging, it can affect video quality, causing interruptions and breaks in your voice.
Did you know that Zoom has built-in settings that help you appear better on camera? Here is an overview of the settings you can use to improve your appearance:
- Adjust for low light: If you have bad lighting, you can use this setting to adapt the video quality to the low light. You can either have Zoom do this automatically or use the slider manually until you like the results.
- HD video quality: Zoom supports 720p video quality, but it depends on your account plan. 1080p is also available, but Zoom support must enable it for your account first.
- Touch up my appearance: This tool applies a soft filter to your face to make you look better, kind of like the beauty filters of Snapchat and many phone cameras or social media apps. You can use the slider to control this filter.
- Video filters: Using the desktop or mobile app, you can add color filters, frames, and overlays. Be careful when using these for interviews, as they are often more suitable for casual conversations.
- Virtual backgrounds: As I already mentioned, you can use virtual backgrounds to hide your factual background. It will usually be apparent that you’re using a virtual background, but nobody will think less of you for it. You might choose a background featuring a famous landmark or national park, for example.
Following are some examples of outfits you might wear to your Zoom meeting.
- Simple dress shirt with sleeves rolled up: A simple blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the top button open is good for casual meetings.
- Dress shirt + tie: For more professional interviews, consider wearing a simple white dress shirt with a blue tie. If the meeting requires a bit more formality, add a black suit. If you have a gray suit, you may choose a black tie.
- Blouse + necklace: Consider wearing a white or beige blouse with a simple necklace. A button-down shirt can work too. Wear simple earrings – nothing that hangs down too much – for an extra touch.
If this is your first time doing an interview on Zoom, it’s normal to feel a bit nervous. However, after reading this guide, you should have a pretty good idea of what to wear and how to act during your interview to make the best first impression.
Remember that confidence is the most crucial thing during interviews, including during Zoom interviews. Maintain a strong tone of voice, keep your posture straight, and maintain eye contact.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.